A Kansas television station is reporting that the state attorney general’s office has “identified significant legal issues” with the proposed temporary sports betting rules submitted this month by the Kansas Lottery Commission.
Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday announced that sports betting operators could go live on Sept. 1, a week before the start of the NFL season. Whether the attorney general’s “issues” could jeopardize the possibility of that Sept. 1 launch date is an open question.
The lottery will co-regulate sports betting with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, which has also submitted proposed temporary rules to the attorney general’s office.
“Within days, we will be providing our formal feedback to Lottery and giving them the opportunity to correct the legal deficiencies,” Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s spokesman, John Milburn, told FOX4 in a statement. “We intend to approve these regulations as soon as the agency fixes the legal problems in their initial version. Our initial review of the proposed regulations from KRGC has begun and is also being expedited.”
The report did not indicate what the “issues” were for the attorney general or how difficult they would be to fix.
Eight operators heading toward launch
Kelly signed statewide digital and retail sports betting into law on May 12, and it took effect July 1. Should Kansas launch Sept. 1, it would become the second-fastest state behind Iowa to go from legal to live since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned by the Supreme Court in May 2018.
The state has four casino partners, each of which will be entitled to one brick-and-mortar sportsbook and up to three digital partners. To date, Bally’s, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, Caesars Sportsbook, and PointsBet have announced partnerships.
On Thursday, the lottery announced that is has completed contracts with Boot Hill Casino, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Raceway, Kansas Crossing, and Kansas Star. Because gaming in Kansas is technically owned by the state, the four casinos are “management partners” that operate gaming on behalf of the state.
While it’s unclear if the attorney general’s review will delay the proposed go-live date, it creates additional homework for both the lottery and KRGC to handle in the 13 days before the launch date. According to FOX4, neither agency offered comment on the attorney general’s statement.
All four casinos have been feverishly working on building out sportsbooks and likely still have plans to move forward.