Sports Betting in Kansas Becomes Official, How do UMKC Students Feel?


Kansas announced this month the legalization of sports betting. (Julia Kapros/RooNews)

Jackson Ogden, Writer

 Kansas became the newest state to join the fast-growing movement of legalized sports gambling on September 1, 2022.

  With access to legalized sports gambling closer to home than ever before, UMKC students are voicing their opinions on the matter.

  “I don’t plan on going there (Kansas) to place bets, but I would participate if it were legalized in Missouri,” Jesse Ledford, a senior Computer Science major, said.

  “I feel mostly impartial, but if I had to choose between the two, I’d say legalize it,” said Luke Romang, an Environmental Science major. “I don’t know enough about sports betting and its impacts to really have an informed opinion.”

  A similar sentiment was shared by Thomas McKenna, a junior also majoring in computer science. “I probably wouldn’t go to Kansas just to use it (sports gambling), but yes, I would utilize it here.”

  While sports betting is still illegal in Missouri, the opportunity to bet in its neighboring state has some UMKC students anxious about when it’ll be legalized.

  That day might be coming later rather than sooner, as a bill was not passed during the previous legislative session, which ended on May 13, 2022. This means Missouri will not see legalized sports gambling in 2022, even after a strong effort to make that happen.

  A bill titled HB 2552 was passed on the house floor that would have legalized sports betting in 13 casinos and 39 different mobile sites, but one major issue about video lottery terminals, also known as “VLTs” throughout the state led to the bill not being passed in the Senate. 

  The divide in the senate lies largely upon Sen. Denny Hoskin’s vision of legal sports betting involving legal VLTs. Casino companies in Missouri – or anywhere, for that matter, do not want the legalization of VLTs, which can cut into their business. 

  This wasn’t the first time a bill was proposed to legalize sports betting in Missouri. As in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, multiple proposals were made, but just like this year, none of them were able to pass, even with the likes of the Chiefs, Royals, and Blues backing the idea, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.

  One thing that seems certain is that students at UMKC are in favor of legalization in Kansas and are awaiting an opportunity to participate if it’s ever passed in Missouri, whether it be 2023, or another year down the line.

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