A recent study by GeoComply shows the online gaming technology vendor has tracked more than 280,000 sports betting accounts accessed in Missouri over the past six months, with most of those accounts connected to legal sports betting operators in two neighboring states.
The Canadian-based company that provides geofencing and fraud prevention services to sports betting and iGaming operators processed more than 13.5 million geolocation checks from inside the Show-Me State from June 17 to Dec. 17. Missouri sports betting participants could check odds on games and events and make deposits and withdrawals to their accounts while inside the state. However, they could not place bets inside the state since Missouri has yet to pass any sports betting legislation.
Geolocation checks do not equal attempts to wager on a one-to-one basis. However, GeoComply claims the data indicates interest in sports betting and the potential for a legal market in Missouri.
With sports betting legal in seven of its eight bordering states, Missouri is almost entirely surrounded by states that already allow licensed operators to operate through brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, online wagering apps, or both. While GeoComply’s map shows geolocation checks processed all over the state, most of the activity occurred in its two major metropolitan areas, St. Louis and Kansas City.
Mizzou’s Loss Benefits Illinois, Kansas
With Kansas City bordering Kansas and St. Louis across the Mississippi River from Illinois, it’s not surprising that those two states benefit the most from Missouri’s inaction. Accounts connected to Kansas sports betting apps accounted for 48% of the geolocation checks, and Illinois represents another 40%. This highlights what should be some urgency to legalize Missouri betting apps.
The map also shows higher interest in other population centers and high-traffic areas. That includes the Lake of the Ozarks, a popular tourist destination in central Missouri that attracts millions of visitors from across the Midwest and South each summer, and the state’s southwestern cities that are short drives from Arkansas, another legal sports betting state, and Kansas.
Show Me How Many Are Crossing State Lines
In addition, GeoComply also tracked Missouri sports bettors in the KC and St. Louis areas who initially accessed their apps in Missouri but then crossed state lines a short time later to place wagers in Kansas and Illinois, respectively. There were more than 48,000 geolocation checks in the Kansas City area from about 2,200 accountholders who then crossed into KC’s Kansas suburbs to place their bets. That works out to about 8,000 geolocation checks per month, although traffic likely increased during the football months.
There were more than 42,000 such checks identified among nearly 2,000 St. Louis area bettors over the same period who then went to Illinois.
While those studies only tracked about 1.5% of Missouri sports betting accounts connected with FanDuel, DraftKings or other online operators, it would indicate thousands of other residents already have accounts that would likely bet more often if sports betting was allowed in their home state. Exactly how many residents have signed up for accounts is uncertain since people may register with more than one operator.
GeoComply also tracked activity at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs, for the Chiefs’ Dec. 10 game against the Buffalo Bills. Among the capacity crowd of 73,639 were individuals who held more than 1,500 active sports betting accounts. Those individuals were connected to more than 9,100 geolocation checks on game day. Again, those numbers would likely increase substantially if sports betting was legal in Missouri.
Statewide, GeoComply identified nearly 205,000 geolocation checks that day.
What’s In Store For 2024?
In recent years, Missouri lawmakers have tried to pass a sports betting legalization bill. However, those attempts have been stonewalled in the Senate. There would appear to be enough support in that chamber for a bill, but the Senate’s filibuster rules have been utilized by opponents to keep a vote from taking place. Among those leading that charge is state Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, who has said he supports sports betting, but he also supports legalizing video lottery terminals, a measure opposed by Missouri casino operators.
That has led proponents, mainly the state’s major professional sports teams, to consider a petition drive that, if successful, would allow Missouri voters to consider a constitutional amendment legalizing sports betting. Lawmakers have still filed bills for the upcoming legislative session, which begins next Wednesday. Hoskins has refiled his bill to legalize sports betting and VLTs, and state Sen. Tony Lutkemeyer, R-Parkville, has refiled his bill from last year to allow just sports wagering.
Polling on Missouri sports betting among voters typically has shown more oppose it now, a position proponents say can be rectified through informing the public about what a ballot measure would include and how sports betting would benefit the state. However, one poll taken earlier this year showed stronger support for legalization.
In July, Show Me Victories conducted a poll for a proposed casino initiative in the Lake of the Ozarks area. The survey of 667 likely voters found 25% were “very likely to support” sports betting legalization and another 23% “somewhat likely.” That represents the highest support for sports betting of any recent poll in the state.
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