Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas Calls State's Absence of Legal Sports Betting 'Dumb'

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 9, 2024 08:00 PM
Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas Calls State's Absence of Legal Sports Betting 'Dumb'

Go ahead and add Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas to the growing list of government officials who want to see legal sports betting in Missouri.

"It’s so dumb we don’t have this yet," Lucas, who was elected as Kansas City's third African American back in 2019, tweeted out this month on the subject of Missouri sports betting. 

This is far from an anomalous sentiment being conveyed by Quinton Lucas. Most recently, Missouri state senator Holly Thomas Rehder offered support for legal sports betting. In fact, she went as far as calling the state's failure to approve the latest sports betting bill an outright "failure."

While this influx of public disdain for the absence of Missouri legal sports betting may seem random, it is actually quite timely. The neighboring Kansas is set to hold a soft opening for legal sports betting that begins on September 1, with a full-tilt implementation soon to follow. This development hits closer than ever to home, not only because of Kansas' proximity to Missouri, but because of what Missouri's continued sports betting holdout could mean.

Is Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas Worried About the State Losing the Kansas City Chiefs?

Although many remain unimpressed with Kansas' rollout of legal sports betting, people from The Show-Me State like Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas understand there's a larger game being played: The battle for the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs.

Granted, this isn't a topic that has received much attention. The Chiefs call Kansas City, Missouri, home. End of story.

Or is it?

Officials throughout Kansas have been pretty open both on and off the record about their desire to poach the Kansas City Chiefs from the state of Missouri. The delay in their rollout of legal sports betting has even been painted in these terms. Many believe Kansas is trying to perfect their sports betting infrastructure as a way to promise additional—and lucrative—revenue to the Chiefs if they agree to migrate over from Missouri.

For those in the know, like Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas, this is clearly an unsettling proposition. The Chiefs are worth nearly $3 billion at this writing, according to Forbes, and both the revenue they bring into the city and jobs they create for the local economy are of the utmost importance. If Missouri loses them, small businesses dependent on game-day sales and foot traffic will see tens of millions of dollars walk out the door—without a viable path to replacing it. And frankly, given all the other aspects of business tied to housing an NFL franchise in your state, this would only be the tip of the iceberg.

Does Missouri Actually Have to Worry About the Chiefs Leaving for Kansas?

Immediately, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas and the rest of the state needn't worry about losing the Chiefs to another venue. Back in 2021, Kansas City signed a lease with the owners of Arrowhead Stadium, located in Missouri, that runs through 2031. That's nearly a decade away. It isn't currently known whether there's an early-exit option for the Chiefs, but these contracts are usually ironclad. If Kansas City is actually going to explore alternative locations, it probably isn't happening before 2031.

However, Lucas and the rest of Missouri's government officials absolutely need to concern themselves with the longer game. The Chiefs importance to the local economy won't suddenly dwindle over time. There will be catastrophic ramifications if they leave, regardless of whether it happens in 2031, 2041, 2051 or later.

For anyone unbothered by the notion of the Chiefs exiting, we have some advice: Don't underestimate the prospect. The team's president, Mark Donovan, went on the record this past spring stating that the organization wants to explore moving into a newer stadium once their current lease expires. What's more, Donovan specifically mentioned the state of Kansas as a possibility, noting that the club has already been pitched by developers from The Sunflower State.

This isn't meant to imply anything's a done deal. Missouri can always figure out a way to get the Chiefs into a new stadium, and while legal sports betting is worth a boatload to pro franchises, they have the better part of a decade to change their tune on the subject. The question is: Will they?

Can Quinton Lucas Bring Legal Sports Betting to Missouri?

No one person will be responsible for bringing legal sports betting to The Show-Me State if and when it happens. It will take a vast amount of support, and even then, it will also need to be approved by the state's voters during a major ballot.

Still, Missouri Mayor Quinton Lucas certainly seems to be getting out in front of the issue. He understands how much legal sports betting is worth, both to the state's overall revenue and the future earning potential of Chiefs. He also seems to understand that continuing to disallow gambling won't actually stop it. There are many sites from our list of the top online sportsbooks ready to accept deposits and bets from people in Missouri, and residents will soon have the opportunity to travel a short way into Kansas for legal sports betting if they so choose.

This is to say: It matters that Lucas has put the absence of legal sports betting under the microscope. He may not be solely responsible for bringing it to Missouri, but the attention he's drawing to the issue now will prove pivotal if the state is going to join the ranks of legal sports betting supporters before the Chiefs' lease is up at Arrowhead Stadium.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one will work for all of your sports betting needs: 

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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