Sports Betting Could Entice the Kansas City Chiefs to Move to Kansas

  • Arrowhead Stadium has housed the Chiefs since 1972
  • Missouri is one of 12 states without legal sports betting
  • The Chiefs’ current stadium lease runs until 2033
  • A new football stadium is rumored to cost $2.5bn
Kansas City Chiefs stadium
The Chiefs or Royals could move from Missouri to Kansas in light of a new law that would use sports betting funds to finance stadiums. [Image:]

On the move?

The power of sports betting may be enough to convince the Kansas City Chiefs to relocate from Kansas City, Missouri, to their true namesake state.

a fund for a new stadium for the Chiefs or Kansas City Royals

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed a restructuring bill known as HB 2001 that will allocate portions of the state’s STAR (Sales Tax and Revenue) program to a fund for a new stadium for the Chiefs or Kansas City Royals. STAR is supplied by money from tax revenue at stadiums and nearby retailers, along with sports betting and lottery revenues.

The Kansas City Star reported that representatives from both the Chiefs and Royals were enthused by the bill’s singing.

Kansas sports betting deal interests the Chiefs

The Chiefs, Royals, and other Missouri professional sports teams have long been angered by the state’s inability to agree on sports betting legislation. 

A group of representatives and officials from the teams, led by St. Louis Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III, have delivered speeches, attended legislative discussions, and lobbied for legal sports betting for years to no avail. One of the group’s main frustrations was the ease with which nearby states achieved legalization, resulting in increased finances for their sports teams, state and local governments, and communities.

It now appears their neighboring state’s sports betting ecosystem could be a primary factor in them leaving their longtime home if such a change occurs. 

“We look forward to exploring the options this legislation may provide.”

“We support [Kansas’] efforts to expand the existing [STAR] program and congratulate them on passing the legislation in special session,” the Chiefs wrote in a statement. “We look forward to exploring the options this legislation may provide.”

The Chiefs have been rumored to be interested in relocating to a new stadium for years. President Mark Donovan said during a 2022 NFL meeting that the team was open to discussing all possible outcomes related to its future.

The Chiefs’ lease at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium runs through 2033. However, Donovan said it was possible that the team could build a new stadium nearby or flat-out abdicate the area. 

Potential consequences of failed plans

Bringing the Chiefs to the Sunflower State would provide a massive shock to the economy, seeing as they are the best and one of the most popular teams in a league that generated in the neighborhood of $20bn in revenue during 2023. However, a lot of work is required to first create a lane for them to relocate.

The new bill redistributes bond funding from STAR to 70% of the total cost of sports facilities, of which there may be a maximum of two. STAR may cover 50% of the remaining total costs, and the rest by developers.

All Kansas sports betting and lottery revenue exceeding $71.49m will be eligible to fill the STAR bonds and, in turn, be used to lure the Chiefs across the border. 

rumored to cost up to $2.5bn

Kansas sports betting generated more than $2bn in total bets during 2023, but it’s going to take much more to fully fund the Chiefs’ stadium, which is rumored to cost up to $2.5bn. Meanwhile, the Royals’ stadium is estimated to cost $1.5bn.

In April, Jackson County, Missouri residents voted against a deal to help keep the Chiefs and Royals in the state. The plan called for a three-eighths-per-cent sales tax over a 40-year period.

Both teams said they would declare their future in Missouri if the measure passed.

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