Kansas Sports Betting Is Now Legal: Here's Everything You Need To Know
David Caraviello | 4 mins
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With a stroke of her pen, Gov. Laura Kelly OK'd the Kansas sports betting bill, making the Sunflower State the latest to legalize sports betting—although sports bettors will still have to wait a little longer before placing their first legal wagers on Kansas sports betting apps
Kelly’s signature marked the final approval for a sports betting bill that needed a late-night approval by the state’s Senate to make it to the governor’s desk and was almost doomed by a provision that routes most tax revenue into a fund designed to lure pro sports teams.
State lawmakers have said the law will go into effect July 1, raising the distinct possibility that Kansas could have legal sports betting in place before the start of the NFL season on September 8.
The state-run Kansas Lottery, which owns and operates the four non-tribal casinos in the Sunflower State, will oversee both retail and mobile sports betting. Non-tribal casinos will be able to partner with up to three operators like BetMGM Kansas, DrafKings Kansas and Caesars Sportsbook Kansas. Sports betting at pro sports venues - like Kansas Speedway, where NASCAR races on Sunday - would also be allowed if those facilities partner with a casino. The tax rate will be 10 percent.
Kansas Lottery Laying Groundwork
Even before Kelly signed the bill into law, officials at the Kansas Lottery were laying the groundwork to get sports betting “up and operating as quickly as we can, regardless of what timeframe it becomes legal,” Stephen Durrell, executive director of the lottery commission, told reporter Tod Palmer of KSHB-TV in Kansas City.
“We’re trying to figure out, in a perfect world, how would this work, and how can we help our casino partners get this stuff up and running as fast as we can?” Durrell told the television station. “Everybody’s anxious to get it done. We just make sure that it’s done safely and fairly, and make sure that, when it gets up and operating, it is the most efficient and fun for the players that it can be.”
Durrell also mentioned that the Kansas Lottery has been in contact with officials from other states that have launched legal sports betting to gauge what approaches have worked best. Arizona is among the states that have most recently launched sports betting in time for football season after officially legalizing the practice the previous spring.
Missouri, Chiefs in Kansas’ Crosshairs
Kelly's signature not only legalizes sports betting in Kansas and allows sportsbooks like FanDuel Sportsbook Kansas, PointsBet Kansas and FoxBet Kansas to operate but it also gives the Sunflower State an edge over neighbor and rival Missouri, where the movement to legalize sports betting stalled over a disagreement concerning wagering kiosks at truck stops and veteran’s organizations, according to the Kansas City Star.
With the state’s current legislative session ending Friday, any sports betting measures there are on indefinite hold.
And Kansas may be out to take more from Missouri than just tax dollars generated from sports betting. With 80 percent of tax revenue earmarked for a fund that will try to attract pro sports teams to Kansas, the Sunflower State seems to be taking direct aim at the Kansas City Chiefs, who have hinted at their desire for a new stadium. Arrowhead Stadium, on the eastern outskirts of Kansas City, Mo., was built in 1972.
Kansas already faced pressure from neighboring Colorado and nearby Iowa, which allow mobile sports betting and would regularly attract bettors across state lines during major events.
But Kansas is unlikely to face much pressure from neighboring Nebraska, which passed a law in 2021 that allowed only retail betting, and only at six yet-to-be-built facilities at horse racing tracks. Quibbles between lawmakers over regulations have pushed any launch into later 2022, at the earliest.