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Kansas OK’s Sports Betting Revenue for Stadium Building

Can sports betting revenue be the driving factor for luring professional sports teams to move from one city to another? That’s the thought behind HB 2001, a bill that was recently signed into law by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly. Under the terms of the bill, sports betting revenue can be used to fund bonds, which can then be used to build professional sports stadiums – a crucial element in enticing a team to move.

HB 2001 is particularly relevant in Kansas, which is home to Kansas City, but not home to the Kansas City Chiefs or Kansas City Royals. Governor Kelly, and a host of lawmakers, are hoping that the promise of new stadiums, built in part with sports betting revenue, will be enough to get the teams to cross the border from Kansas City, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas.

While neither the Royals nor the Chiefs have explicitly promised to pack up and cross state lines, Governor Kelly is confident that the lure of new, partially-sport-betting-funded stadiums will perk their interest. “Kansas now has the opportunity to become a professional sports powerhouse with the Chiefs and Royals potentially joining Sporting KC as major league attractions, all with robust, revenue-generating entertainment districts surrounding them providing new jobs, new visitors and new revenues that boost the Kansas economy,” she said in comments reported on by the Missouri Independent.

Not every lawmaker was completely sold on the idea, however. State Rep. Jason Probst (D-Hutchinson) tepidly supported the plan saying, “I do not like this. It feels gross. This whole show that’s going on feels disgusting to me. And it’s still the right thing to do. That’s how I see it.”

The estimated cost of a new stadium to house the Chiefs and Royals is somewhere between $1.5-$2.5 billion.