Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday that operators can launch retail and digital sports betting Sept. 1, making it the second-fastest state to go from legalization to live digital wagering since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018.
Kansas lawmakers legalized on May 12, and though the law did not become effective until July 1, both the lottery and its co-regulator, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, were already doing background work to prepare for launch.
Kansas will have gone from legal to live in 112 days. Only Iowa, at 96 days in 2019, was faster.
The launch will be one week ahead of the start of the NFL season on Sept. 8. The Kansas City Chiefs open on Sept. 11 at the Arizona Cardinals. According to a press release from the Kansas Lottery, operators can begin accepting wagers Sept. 1, and they “will officially open September 8.”
Stephen Durrell, head of the Kansas Lottery Commission, said via press release: “This announcement represents a lot of hard work and collaboration between the Kansas Lottery, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, our casino and tribal partners. The process to bring this to fruition has moved at an unbelievable pace. We are excited to be bringing sports betting to Kansas players and adding more fun and exciting play options to the Sunflower State.”
Eight operators have access
According to the press release, any approved operator can go live, and the lottery will announce which operators it has contracted with in the future. So far, Bally’s, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, and PointsBet have announced partnerships.
The lottery announced that is has completed contracts with the four casinos in the state — Boot Hill Casino, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Raceway, Kansas Crossing, and Kansas Star. All four are poised to have retail locations as well as digital operations.
BetMGM on Thursday became the latest operator to announce a pre-launch special when it sent out news that it will offer new customers $200 in free bets just for signing up on its digital platform. DraftKings and FanDuel previously announced $100 in free bets for new customers.
Kansas will become the third state to launch mobile platforms in 2022, behind New York (Jan. 8) and Louisiana (Jan. 28). The Canadian province of Ontario launched digital wagering April 4. Kansas was the second state to legalize in 2022, behind Maine (May 2) and ahead of Massachusetts (Aug. 1), and will beat both to taking bets. Maine regulators are pointing to a mid-2023 launch while the Massachusetts Gaming Commission won’t put a time frame on when the state will be ready.
Temporary rules approved last week
In Kansas, gaming is owned by the state, and it is the only state in which there are co-regulators. The lottery contracts with the casinos, which are considered “management providers.” It will oversee day-to-day operations, while the KRGC has developed rules covering everything from promotional play and surveillance to accounting and advertising. Both entities approved temporary rules last week, which were then sent to the attorney general’s office for approval.
Under the Kansas law, bettors will be able to wager on professional and college sports, and operators will be taxed at 10%. The law also allows for federally recognized tribes to offer sports betting, though the tribes must first re-compact with the state, so they will likely be on a different timeline.
“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 in the press release. “I want to thank all our partners for working with us to get this done in time for football season.”