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Odds of Chiefs move to new Kansas stadium decreasing

If you were so inclined to put down a wager on the chances of the Kansas City Chiefs moving to a new Kansas stadium, you might bet the under after state sports-gambling revenues have come in below projections.

Kansas instituted sports gambling this year, and dedicated a portion of the proceeds toward new sports facilities–i.e., potential new venues for the Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. But with the Royals announcing their intentions to pursue a new downtown ballpark, the Chiefs would appear to be poised to land plenty of fund proceeds.

One problem: The proceeds from the Kansas gambling fund so far have come in below expectations. Plus, the potential move of the Royals to downtown Kansas City is a double-edged sword: if it happens, that means the Chiefs have the Truman Sports Complex to themselves, clearing the way for a large redevelopment that includes services more focused to infrequent, big events like NFL football and high-profile soccer matches. From the Kansas City Star:

The state budget office has predicted the fund could accumulate $10 million by 2025. Yet, despite more than $350 million of wagers in the first two months of legal betting, the state has only received just under $271,000 in revenue, according to a report from the Kansas Lottery. That puts the fund on pace, if the trend holds, to fall millions short of the 2025 estimate.

But half a year after the Legislature passed the bill, lawmakers are downplaying the chances of bringing the Chiefs to Kansas — and are expressing openness to changing the fund or eliminating it altogether.

“I think what will happen over the next year or two, it will get redesigned where there’s … probably eliminate that fund,” said state Sen. Rob Olson, an Olathe Republican who chairs the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee and championed the sports betting bill.

Not that the Chiefs were a strong contender to move, anyway. In July Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said his preference would be to stay at a renovated Arrowhead Stadium, and nothing the team has done would indicate otherwise.

Image courtesy Kansas City Chiefs.

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