Kansas City International Airport is taking a chance on the lottery.
In a deal between the airport’s vendor, HMSHost, and the Missouri Lottery, sometime next month passengers and visitors at Terminal B will be able to gamble on more than just their flight being on time.
They will be able to buy Missouri lottery tickets at vending machines inside Terminal B, the home of Southwest, AirTran, Alaska and Delta. They also will be able to play Club Keno in the taverns in the Top of the Crown and Boulevard Brewing Co. restaurants inside the terminal.
And if they’re really lucky, they may hit the jackpot like the person at Miami International Airport who won $16 million last year from the Florida Lotto. That would call for an upgrade to first class at a minimum, maybe champagne all around for the cabin too.
“We are very excited about this new partnership with KCI,” said Susan Goedde, a spokeswoman for the Missouri Lottery. “We are always looking for new locations to sell our products, and KCI seemed like a perfect fit.
“We think airport patrons will find it to be a fun and entertaining way to pass the time while they wait for their plane.”
Airport officials are quick to stress the agreement is between HMSHost and the lottery, although the city’s Aviation Department will get a piece of the action if any larger prizes are won. They also say City Hall has vetted the agreement, and lottery tickets are sold in other government buildings around the state.
“It's another one of those amenities that passengers would like, and we are happy to be able to work with the Missouri Lottery and our concession provider Host,” said Mark VanLoh, director of the Aviation Department.
Winners will be able to redeem their ticket for cash at concessions operated by HMSHost at the terminal. The vendor will in turn be reimbursed for its services by the Missouri Lottery, and in the event of larger jackpots, HMSHost will get a share of the proceeds.
The airport gets a 25 percent cut if HMSHost nets more than $500 from the Missouri Lottery. Long said, however, the expectation is that many of the smaller winners will just buy another hot dog, beer or T-shirt from one of the airport concessions.
Goedde said other airports around the country have had success selling lottery tickets. The Minneapolis-St. Paul airport is considering a plan that would allow people to buy lottery tickets or even gamble on the 2,500 iPads already installed in its terminals.
While other airports weren’t consulted by the Missouri Lottery, Goedde said that “we did talk with the other lotteries that sell in airports, and they have reported airports as excellent and lucrative retail partners.”
The vending machines and Club Keno games are expected to be installed by the end of April. The agreement calls for the operation to be reviewed in six months to evaluate how its working.
“Since this is a completely new venue for us, we don’t have specific numbers on potential sales,” Goedde said, “but based on the traffic and reports from other lotteries in airports, we expect it will be very successful.”