Missouri Wants Sports Betting, Kansas City’s Gary Jenkins Says On ‘The Edge’

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Missouri Wants Sports Betting, Kansas City’s Gary Jenkins Says On ‘The Edge’
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A signature-gathering effort to give Missourian a chance to vote on legalized sports betting will be a success, says Gary Jenkins, a Kansas City lawyer and historian.

The state’s major pro sports teams are working with online sportsbook operators to gather more than 170,000 signatures by early May to put the issue on the November ballot. The effort is led by a coalition called “Winning for Missouri Education.”

On Gambling.com’s “The Edge,” Jenkins noted that people in places like Kansas City and St. Louis already cross into bordering states to bet legally on sports, costing Missouri tax money that could be used for local governments and more.

“We’re losing millions and millions in tax dollars,” Jenkins said.

WATCH: Former Kansas City Cop On 'The Edge'

Sports Betting Not A Priority For Lawmakers

Jenkins was less optimistic that the Legislature, now meeting in Jefferson City, will approve a sports betting measure currently under consideration. Past legislative efforts to legalize sports betting have been unsuccessful.

Jenkins said a lobbyist friend once told him Missouri legislators “don’t care about anything but guns and abortion.”

“Nothing else seems to get through,” Jenkins said.

The former Kansas City intelligence detective said Missourians want to be able to bet on sports legally.

“In general, people want legalized sports betting,” Jenkins said. “They don’t see anything wrong with it. They’ve been doing it with their friends for years.” 

Mob Boss Busted In Super Bowl Betting Scandal

Also on “The Edge,” Jenkins discusses an illegal sports betting scandal decades ago that resulted in the conviction of Kansas City Mob boss Nick Civella.

In 1970, before the start of the Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl game against  the Minnesota Vikings, Civella was recorded on a wiretap discussing bets placed with Mob bookies on the game.

The Chiefs were a 12-point underdog in Super Bowl IV but defeated the Vikings, 23-7. The Kansas City Mob was overloaded on Chiefs bets by $47,360, meaning more people were betting on the Chiefs than the Vikings, creating a costly imbalance for the Mob.

Jenkins noted the current Chiefs team, like the one during that previous era, is experiencing another high point. 

“Now is the new heyday of the Chiefs,” he said.

This year on Feb. 11, the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs face the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII (58) at Allegiant Stadium just west of the Las Vegas Strip.

In states with legal sports wagering, including most states bordering Missouri, people can place Super Bowl bets in person at sportsbooks or on mobile apps or computer platforms. At DraftKings Sportsbook, for instance, the Chiefs are the underdog at +2.

For more on Jenkins and his historical work regarding organized crime in Kansas City and elsewhere, visit his website, ganglandwire.com.

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