Super Bowl Betting Remains Illegal in both Chiefs and Buccaneers’ Home States
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Raymond James Stadium.
Americans are projected to wager more than $4 billion on this year’s Super Bowl.
None of those dollars will be placed legally in the home states of its two participating teams.
Sports betting will still be illegal in Missouri and Florida when the Kansas City Chiefs face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. Both states’ legislatures are considering sports betting bills this year, but it may take a rematch in Super Bowl LVI (or beyond) for either team to play in a Super Bowl with legal betting in their home state.
Ahead of Sunday’s game, here’s where the two Super Bowl participants’ sports betting legalization hopes stand and where Missouri and Florida residents would have to travel to place a legal bet.
Missouri Sports Betting Status
Show Me State lawmakers have introduced six 2021 sports betting bills, but other gaming matters may delay or derail legalization hopes.
Is sports betting legal in Missouri?
No, sports betting is not legal in Missouri.
Where is the nearest legal sportsbook to Kansas City?
The closest legal retail sportsbooks to Kansas City are in Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is about 180 miles north along Interstate 29. However, eligible bettors can register for any legal sportsbook in Iowa, including DraftKings, FanDuel, William Hill and BetMGM, once they cross state lines.
Online sports betting is also available further west in Illinois, with retail sportsbooks in East St. Louis about 250 miles away along Interstate 70. Like Iowa, Illinois allows remote registration and wagering as long as bettors are physically within state lines.
Overview of Sports Betting in Missouri
Missouri sports betting backers in the legislature have pushed several times in recent years only to have legalization efforts fall short. Though legal retail wagering at the state’s 13 casinos, as well as mobile wagering statewide, have bipartisan support, elected officials have struggled to reach consensus on a bill as they deal with the larger issue of video lottery terminals (VLTs).
Thousands of unregulated “grey” VLTs already operate in the state, and lawmakers have not reached a consensus on regulating the terminals or banning them outright. The state casino industry vehemently opposes legal VLTs, fearing it would dissuade patron visits. The legislature’s VLT backers argue the machines should be legalized because it would create an even greater revenue windfall than legal sports betting.
With lawmakers — and gaming interests — divided, sports betting may sit on the legislative back burner until (or if) officials find a solution.
Kansas, which splits the Kansas City metro area with Missouri, is considering sports betting, as well. Legal Kansas sports betting would mean both of Missouri’s two largest metro areas would have easy access to wagering in another state. This could help push Missouri to find a solution that keeps millions of gambling dollars from crossing state lines.
Florida Sports Betting Status
A Super Bowl team will play in its home stadium for the first time in the Big Game’s history. Like every other Super Bowl, there will be no legal betting options in (or around) the host stadium.
Is sports betting legal in Florida?
No, sports betting is not legal in Florida.
Where is the nearest legal sportsbook to Tampa?
The closest retail sportsbooks to Tampa are in Biloxi, Mississippi, roughly 575 miles away (or nearly an eight-hour drive). Mobile betting is only allowed inside casino properties.
The closest place to place an online bet is Tennessee, which allows mobile wagering anywhere within state lines. Tampa is also about 575 miles from the Tennessee — Georgia border, which is an eight-hour trip north along Interstate 75.
Overview of Sports Betting in Florida
Florida’s sports betting prospects pale in comparison to the state’s larger gaming quagmire. Elected officials and the state’s Seminole Tribe have been in a years-long struggle over their operating compact, a back-and-forth that doesn’t appear to have a clear path forward.
Lawmakers have proposed a sports betting bill independent of the Seminole Tribe, but it appears unlikely to gain much traction. Without support from the Seminoles, which operate the state’s largest casinos, sports betting faces long odds.
Florida neighbors Alabama and Georgia are both considering gaming expansions in 2021, with the latter already advancing a sports betting bill out of committee. The biggest problem for both states is their deeply conservative legislatures, which are dominated by Republican caucuses that include influential gambling opponents.
However, Republicans in both states have pitched regulated sports betting as a new revenue opportunity, a similar approach that helped Tennessee approve wagering. This could mean new betting opportunities on Florida’s borders despite the entrenched political opposition.