• St. Louis is the 13th-ranked gambling market in the US.
• MO casinos reported 1% year-over-year growth, while KS casinos grew by 5%.
• Sports betting has not yet been legalized in either state.
ST. LOUIS – According to a new survey by the American Gaming Association (AGA), the St. Louis casino market generated $550 million in 2018 tax revenue.
The total gambling revenue for the region is reported at $796 million for the year, making it the US’ 13th-largest gaming market.
The tax haul was split between the local and state governments of Missouri and Kansas.
Missouri has the larger gambling market of the two states. Total 2018 gaming tax revenue across the Show-Me State amounted to $446.5 million, making it the state’s fifth-largest source of income.
Missouri is ranked ninth in the US for gaming revenue overall, and its gambling industry employs upwards of 20,000 people. In total, Missouri has 13 commercial casinos, all classified as riverboat venues.
Year over year, the Missouri gaming market has increased by about one percent.
Kansas’ gambling presence is substantially smaller, with total tax contributions of $110 million to the state in 2018. Kansas casinos employ nearly 3700 people across four commercial and five tribal venues.
Kansas’ gambling market saw nearly five percent year-over-year growth (though the AGA did not harvest revenue data from the tribal venues).
In a press release last week, AGA CEO Bill Miller hyped the increase in gaming revenues nationwide.
“Year after year, the commercial casino industry has reaffirmed its role as an economic powerhouse in the United States. More people than ever are experiencing the economic and social benefits of gaming in their communities, due in part to the expansion of legal sports betting across the country.”
Interestingly, this doesn’t explain the growth in the pair of aforementioned states. That’s because neither Missouri nor Kansas have yet to legalize sports betting.
Missouri and Kansas residents looking to wager on sports are doing so either out of state or via gray- or black-market sportsbooks.
Of course, the fact that St. Louis casinos continue to grow despite losing customers to sports betting markets elsewhere is very good news.
Once either Missouri or Kansas legalizes sports wagering within their borders, casino revenues and tax contributions should go up across the board.
This will happen as new or formerly displaced customers flock to these venues, bet on sports, play various floor games, and patronize bars and restaurants on-site.
Currently, both states are considering bills to legalize sports betting. Missouri has seven such proposals in its legislature, while Kansas has five.
There are no clear favorites, however, and neither state is expected to legalize the pastime this year. The 2019 Missouri legislative session ended on May 30, while the Kansas legislature adjourned on May 29.
Barring emergency sessions where sports wagering legalization is prioritized, neither state will be in a position to offer such betting until at least Q2 2020.
That said, when either state finally passes the appropriate legislation, the various 2019 bills on record indicate the likely path their industries will take.
In Missouri, the legislative tack is to legalize casino-based sports betting lounges and statewide mobile wagering. All of the current proposals are unified in placing the sports wagering industry under the purview of the Missouri Gaming Commission.
Kansas legislators are taking a different approach given the comparative dearth of commercial casinos in the state. The bills proffered to date all put sports wagering squarely under the management of the Kansas Lottery. One rogue bill (KS HB 2032) attempted to limit the pastime to state racetracks, but its January 30 Senate hearing was canceled outright.
Andy has been writing professionally for nearly two decades, with the last three years being dedicated to his primary passions: sports wagering news and gambling industry analyses. A walk-on punter, Andy has a particular interest in professional football, baseball, and horse racing betting. Come early May, you can always catch Andy – clad in all white, mint julep in hand – on Millionaires Row at Churchill Downs. In his dreams.