US Sports Betting Update – Kansas to launch online sports wagering industry in September
Regulators in Kansas have confirmed that the first online sportsbooks will launch in time for the start of the new NFL season. A soft launch will take place on September 1, and six online sportsbooks are expected to be live in time for the season opener between the Bills and the Rams on September 8. FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Caesars, PointsBet and Barstool are set to become the first online sportsbooks to launch in the Sunflower State.
The Kansas State Wildcats start their season against South Dakota on September 3, and the Kansas City Chiefs then head to Arizona to take on the Cardinals on September 11, so sportsbooks can expect a flurry of early wagers. “Legalizing sports betting is a common-sense solution that keeps Kansans’ money in Kansas and drives business to sporting events, casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I want to thank all our partners for working with us to get this done in time for football season.”
Sportsbooks including FanDuel and DraftKings have already been offered pre-registration bonuses for Kansans. Anyone can claim a $100 free bet bonus by signing up with either sportsbook now. You can also claim $200 in free bets by registering with both of them, and you should still be entitled to the standard welcome bonuses when they launch too. There will be some large promotions available to mark the start of legal sports wagering in Kansas, which marks the latest battleground for the country’s leading sportsbooks.
A Lot of Hard Work and Collaboration
There are four land-based casinos in Kansas: Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg and Kansas Star Casino near Wichita. A private company operates each casino, but they are ultimately controlled by the state-owned Kansas Lottery. Each of those casinos will be given a master license, allowing it to build a retail sportsbook and host three online sports betting operators. It means there could eventually be 12 mobile sports wagering apps in the state.
Boot Hill has already agreed to host DraftKings and Bally Bet. It will feature a DraftKings retail lounge on its premises too. Boyd Gaming, which runs Kansas Star, is a minority owner of FanDuel, and it has a long-term agreement with BetMGM, so it will host both brands. Caesars Sportsbook and PointsBet will operate on Kansas Crossing’s license, while Hollywood Casino owner Penn National Gaming will host its Barstool Sportsbook brand. This week it agreed to buy the remaining shares of Barstool that it does not currently own.
“This announcement represents a lot of hard work and collaboration between the Kansas Lottery, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, our casino and tribal partners,” said Stephen Durrell, executive director of the Kansas Lottery, said. “The process to bring this to fruition has moved at an unbelievable pace. We are excited to be bringing sports betting to Kansas players and adding more fun and exciting play options to the Sunflower State.”
A Breakneck Pace
It certainly has moved forward at a remarkable pace. Lawmakers agreed on a compromise bill, SB 84, in April, and Gov. Kelly signed it on May 23. It came into effect on July 1, and sports betting will begin just two months later on September 1. Other states have taken more than a year to roll out online sports betting after the bill was signed. In Maryland, it may end up taking more than two years, so lawmakers in the Sunflower State have been unusually speedy.
They say there are still regulatory hurdles that need to be cleared to make the launch a reality, but they are confident they can pull it off. The soft launch will take place on September 1, and the full launch is slated for September 8, in time for the NFL Kickoff Game. Buffalo is the 2.5-point favorite for that game, having opened as the 1-point underdog. The Chiefs – based just over the border in Kansas City, Missouri – are the 3-point favorites against the Cardinals for their game on Sunday, September 11.
Sports fans will also be able to bet on Kansas City Royals and Sporting KC games, along with races at Kansas Speedway. March Madness betting is sure to prove popular in Kansas too, as the Kansas Jayhawks won the NCAA Tournament in 2022. There are no college wagering restrictions in the state, so anyone aged 21 or older can bet on games featuring teams such as the Jayhawks, the Wildcats and the Wichita State Shockers.
Kansas Set to Welcome Bettors from Missouri
Kansas is also expected to receive lots of visitors from neighboring states – especially Missouri – that have not yet legalized sports wagering. The bulk of the Kansas City metropolitan area’s 2.2 million population is on the Missouri side of the border, and it will be easy for them to venture into Kansas to place legal sports wagers on mobile apps. Nebraska and Oklahoma have not legalized sports betting either, so anyone close to the Kansas border in those states can enjoy legal wagering at high-quality Kansas sports betting apps.
Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway is located in Kansas City, Kansas, 15 miles west of the Missouri border, and general manager Rick Skinner believes a retail sportsbook will give it a competitive advantage over Kansas City, Missouri, rivals such as Bally’s and Harrah’s.
“We’ll have a service and entertainment options that can't be emulated, at least for now,” said Skinner. “I think that our biggest response, given our geographic location, is going to be from a mile or two to the east. I think we’ll see a lot of visitations from the Missouri side of Kansas City, from people who are interested in that form of entertainment. We’re always looking at ways that we can differentiate ourselves from our competition to provide unique entertainment for our guests. And I think that's what we've seen at the sportsbooks that we've opened is that it enhances the entertainment options. And we fully expect it to do the same here.”