Kansas Sports Betting Set For September Launch, But Legal Issues Remain

August 19, 2022
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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced Thursday that sportsbooks at the four state-owned casinos will begin accepting retail and mobile wagers during a soft launch period on September 1, a week before the start of the National Football League (NFL) season.

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Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a Democrat, announced Thursday (August 18) that sportsbooks at the four state-owned casinos will begin accepting retail and mobile wagers during a soft launch period on September 1, a week before the start of the National Football League (NFL) season.

A full launch will follow on September 8, pending a few regulatory updates.

“For the last several months, the Kansas Lottery as well as our friends at the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) and our four casino partners … have been working hard to make sports betting a reality,” Kansas Lottery executive director Stephen Durrell said in a video announcement.

“There are still several regulatory and administrative hurdles that we need to get through to make this launch a reality but I’m hopeful we can get there,” Durrell said.

All commercial gaming operations in Kansas are technically owned by the state and operated by the Kansas Lottery, which announced that it has completed contracts with the four casinos in the state.

Under the law, each casino can partner with up to three mobile sportsbooks, or skins, as well as up to 50 “marketing agreements” with partners to install kiosks at retail locations throughout the state, although at least 20 percent of the agreements must be with fraternal or veterans’ organizations.

The Kansas Speedway and Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City can also host sports wagering at their facilities.

Boot Hill Casino has deals with Bally Bet and DraftKings, while Kansas Crossing has partnerships with PointsBet and Caesars Entertainment. BetMGM and FanDuel has partnered with Boyd Gaming’s Kansas Star Casino, and Penn Entertainment’s Barstool and FOX Bet will launch at Hollywood Casino.

“Boyd Gaming and FanDuel are looking forward to bringing America’s [leading] sports-betting brand to Kansas in early September,” Boyd said in a statement. “Pending final regulatory approvals, we plan to launch the online FanDuel Sportsbook state-wide, and open a retail FanDuel Sportsbook at Kansas Star Casino.”

The state's four tribal casinos are also negotiating amended gaming compacts for sports betting. These casinos will be authorized to launch as soon as the amendments are approved.

Mobile and retail sports betting will be taxed at 10 percent of gross sports-betting revenues, which is expected to generate $5m in revenue annually.

Durrell said the lottery will release more information as the state gets closer to its launch date. The Kansas Lottery and KRGC have been tasked with overseeing and regulating sports betting in the state.

Kelly signed Senate Bill 84 on May 12, with the law becoming effective on July 1.

Thursday’s announcement came after both the lottery and the KRGC approved temporary regulations last week to operate sports betting, with those regulations currently under review by attorney general Derek Schmidt.

Those temporary rules address everything from promotional play to surveillance and advertising.

Schmidt’s approval is required to move forward and launch wagering in the state.

John Milburn, a spokesman for Schmidt, said their initial review has “identified significant legal issues with the agency’s proposed regulations.” He did not specify what those issues were in an email Thursday to VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

“We are aware of the urgency in this matter and have expedited and nearly completed initial review of the proposed regulations from the Kansas Lottery,” Milburn said. “Within days, we will be providing our formal feedback to lottery and giving them the opportunity to correct the legal deficiencies.”

Milburn stressed that the attorney general will approve the regulations as soon the agency fixes the legal problems in the initial version of the regulations.

“Our initial review of the proposed regulations from KRGC has begun and is also being expedited.”

A one-year provisional license is being granted to operators based on their past performance in other states. The platforms that have been granted contracts will be announced soon, according to the lottery.

“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,” Kelly said. “I want to thank all our partners for working with us to get this done in time for football season."

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