As analysts salivate at the prospect of legalized sports betting in Kansas, officials say the wagers may not begin until after football season kicks off.
The Kansas Jayhawks won their fourth national championship in the 2022 NCAA Tournament title game. State bettors should be able to wager on basketball games later this fall, but legalized sports betting by the beginning of football season appears unlikely. (Image: Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports)
Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission Director Todd Allen recently said that the commission hasn’t set a “go-live date” yet. He noted that “a lot of processes…have to take place still” in a recent interview with Covers. KRGC hasn’t approved regulations for sports betting, but Allen said temporary regulations could be approved by commissioners at the Aug. 12 meeting.
Kansas Sports Betting Processes Set by Law
The sports betting legislation, Senate Bill 84, set timelines for completion of certain processes. KRGC was supposed to set parameters for background checks by Aug. 1, with the commission beginning those investigations by Aug. 15. The Kansas Lottery is supposed to set out the licensing processes for online sportsbooks by Sept. 1 under the law.
When Gov. Laura Kelly signed the sports betting bill into law in May, observers hoped wagers would begin by football season. College games begin Labor Day weekend, while the NFL begins on Sept. 8. It now appears that won’t happen.
While Allen said he understands the disappointment if state agencies don’t complete the processes by NFL Week 1, he pointed out that “our job is to ensure that a safe and honest product is put in place for bettors.”
Cory Thone, spokesman for the Kansas Lottery, recently told WIBW that his agency is working on the issue and it’s still possible for an early September launch of live and online sports betting.
“[The process] is moving forward, but the biggest thing for us and everyone is we want the product to be functional, secure, and safe to use,” he said.
Industry Could Grow Large Quickly in State
The sports betting law sets a 10 percent tax on revenue, allowing sports books at four state-owned casinos. This includes Boot Hill Casino and Resort, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, Kansas Star Casino and Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel. Those casinos can also partner with up to 50 retailers to offer betting kiosks in other business locations.
SB 84 would also authorize up to 12 online sportsbooks, permitting casinos to partner with up to three online operators.
Eight partnerships have already been announced, with heavy-hitters such as BetMGM, FanDuel, Caesars and DraftKings planning to offer online betting in Kansas.