People in Kansas can start legally betting on sports September 1, with gambling beginning in time for the start of football season.
Democratic Governor Laura Kelly on Thursday announced the state’s four state-owned casinos can begin accepting wagers on Sept. 1 as part of a soft launch of the new gambling method.
The Kansas City Chiefs season-opening game is Sept. 11.
“I want to thank all our partners for working with us to get this done in time for football season,” Kelly said in a news release.
The start date comes months after a new law went into effect July 1 allowing people over the age of 21 to bet on sports. Kelly signed the bill into law in May. Kansas lawmakers narrowly approved the bill this year after close, late-night votes in both the House and Senate in April.
The start of betting was delayed because the Kansas Lottery needed to finalize regulations, including creating a specific process for casinos to apply to offer sports gambling in certain ways, such as through a smartphone app.
The four casinos are Boot Hill Casino and Resort near Dodge City, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel in Pittsburg and Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Boot Hill Casino previously announced it has partnered with national gambling apps DraftKings and Bally’s Corporation to provide online sports betting in Kansas.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office said Thursday afternoon that it had identified issues with the regulations as part of the normal review process. The office said it would provide formal feedback in the coming days.
It’s not clear if the review will delay the launch.
“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,” the office said.
Republican Sen. Rob Olson said in May he was excited to finally legalize it because many Kansans wanted it.
“It’s something that Kansans are already doing, and it will bring additional tax revenue to our state to help with our needs,” Olson said. “My constituents have pushed for this legislation for years, and now, the next time we have a significant sporting event in our state, Kansans will be able to bet on their hometown team."
The Kansas Lottery will outsource the sports gambling operations to the casinos in Kansas. Those casinos will be allowed to launch online and in-person betting operations.
Bettors will need to be within the state of Kansas to place a wager.
Sports teams and events may also allow for gambling at stadiums if they enter a marketing agreement with the casinos. Lawmakers specifically noted Sporting Kansas City’s Children's Mercy Park and the Kansas Speedway — which are both located near Hollywood Casino — as candidates.
Kelly noted that even restaurants would be able to offer sports gambling.
The new venture will also bring in some money to the state government. The Kansas Lottery estimates taxes on legal sports betting would total up to $10 million a year by 2025.
But a sports betting expert said that figure may be low. Brandt Iden, a former Michigan state lawmaker who helped legalize sports gambling there, said that the Kansas estimate doesn’t take out-of-state bets into account.
While Kansas passed a new law, its next door neighbor in Missouri failed to do the same. Iden said that means Kansas will still have a head start on Missouri.
“You’re going to be able to have these folks that are just going to come over the border to place their wagers,” Iden said. “We’ve seen that traditionally across the country.”
Dylan Lysen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen. The Kansas News Service is a collaboration of Kansas Public Radio, KCUR, KMUW, and High Plains Public Radio focused on health, the social determinants of health and their connection to public policy. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished by news media at no cost with proper attribution and a link to ksnewsservice.org.