Kansas Sportsbook aims to beat Jan. 1 deadline and begin operations during football season
TOPEKA — Sports betting in Kansas goes into effect July 1, and the governor said Monday she’s optimistic state regulators will implement live betting as soon as football season arrives.
The new law will allow Kansans to bet on their favorite teams through the four public casinos, which can use digital or in-person means to conduct business. Under the control of the Kansas Lottery, alongside the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, casinos can establish their own sportsbooks or partner with up to three online betting operators to launch mobile platforms.
To date, major operators like Bally’s, DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM have announced plans to partner with state casinos. Native American tribes can negotiate new or updated gaming pacts to include sports betting, a process that is already underway, Governor Laura Kelly said.
Regulators are to put guidelines in place and launch operations by Jan. 1, 2023, but Kelly provided a more optimistic timeline. She said the last goal she heard was for sports betting to go live this fall, during the college or pro football season.
While projections for how much the state can make from legal sports betting vary, once in place, Kelly touted the potential for help in critical areas.
“We’re not going to balance the budget on revenue from sports betting, but every little bit counts,” Kelly said. “It allows us to do things like fully fund our schools, fully fund our roads and expand broadband.”
The State Races and Gaming Commission plans to present a set of draft rules at the July 22 meeting on how it will receive, review and approve proposed contracts for gaming facilities. At that time, the commission can approve these regulations.
Under new state law, 80% of sports betting revenue will be deposited into a fund to lure a professional sports team to Kansas, contributing to speculation the state may be shooting to bring the Kansas City Chiefs across the state border. But Kelly poured cold water on the idea at a press conference on Monday, saying all past remarks about the possibility had been offered ironically.
“I never approached the chiefs or anyone in my administration,” Kelly said. “Quite honestly, the amount of money that this bill would generate and put into that fund wouldn’t be anywhere near what you would need to be able to attract a major league team.”
In addition to the fund for professional sports teams, the law also creates a fund against white-collar crime to help combat gambling addictions.
Casinos may enter into agreements with franchises and professional sports venues, such as Sporting Kansas City or Kansas Speedway, to place kiosks at their facilities, allowing fans to place bets while watching the game.
The long-sought law was approved by a 73-49 vote in the House, and in the final hours of the veto session, the Senate followed suit with a 21-13 vote. The governor signed the legislation into law in May. .