The Legal Sports Betting Race Between Kansas and Missouri

A general view of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Jamie Squire/Getty Images/AFP.

It is telling that, within five minutes of the start of Missouri lawmakers’ last meeting, Kansas was mentioned.

There is a competition that, intensified by financial incentives, is going on between these two states as lawmakers on each side press to find a solution to different problems.

These problems are questions that lawmakers in each will have to work out before they can beat their counterparts by being the first ones to legalize sports betting.

Kansas’s Progress

Kansas has recently made progress in its endeavor to legalize sports betting.

As recent meetings have continued to show, there is bipartisan support in the state for the legalization of sports betting, which has concretely amounted to the voting in favor and amending of an online sports betting bill.

Missouri Efforts 

It seems like Missouri lawmakers generally realize that Kansas will beat them to it. But they are nonetheless trying and their efforts have produced meaningful bases for optimism.

Missouri lawmakers’ support for the legalization of sports betting has been pretty vocal. They also explicitly desire to legalize sports betting before Kansas lawmakers do.

However, Kansas already passed a House bill whereas Missouri lawmakers have yet to do the same. They at least seem to be making an effort.


There are issues, though, that are difficult to work out and that are preventing the necessary agreements and level of consensus from being reached.

One issue concerns revenue. Legalizing sports betting should mean more revenue from the state.

The key here is taxes. By taxing sportsbook operators, the state profits from the financial success of top sportsbooks.

Politicians in the state can then use that money towards things like education. They differ wildly, however, regarding the percentage amount which they should tax sportsbook operators. Figures range from the single digits to over 20%.

A lower tax rate could allow sportsbooks to operate with more aggression as they pursue stronger profits for themselves.

A higher tax rate might limit sportsbooks somewhat, but it would guarantee a strong flow of revenue for the state.