Kansans, and Missourians as well, were anticipating that first wager as the NFL’s regular season began. Instead, gaming officials in Kansas are telling folks to chill. Sports betting in Kansas is unlikely to launch before NFL kicks off in 2022.
That hits Show Me State gamblers particularly hard as their state failed to pass Missouri sports betting legislation this year, despite enjoying a 5 to 1 advantage in professional sports teams. It’s just more painful waiting for Missourians, who will have to cross the border to Kansas to sign up and bet when their neighbors do launch sportsbook apps.
Legislators, operators and other stakeholders involved in SB 84, which legalized sports betting in Kansas as of July 1, hoped to see live sportsbooks by the start of the NFL season. That was a tall order. Most states have taken about six months to create sports betting systems.
The two bodies tasked with creating the program in The Sunflower State, the Kansas Lottery and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, simply need more time to construct a workable system. The commission’s director of wagering, Todd Allen, said as much to Legal Sports Report.
“I don’t think there’s any problems with anything. Things seem to be moving smoothly. It’s just probably hard to make an opening weekend. I sure wouldn’t want to guarantee anything like that.”
Executive Director of the Kansas Lottery Stephen Durrell added that “no specific date” has been set to launch sports betting in Kansas.
Regulators hammering away at requirements
Regulators have been hammering away at the necessary requirements to launch, but the laundry list is long and includes a number of loose ends.
At least four major hurdles need to be cleared before launch.
1. State contracting with casinos
This process has gone smoothly so far. Regulators have been working with Kansas casinos since 2017, Allen told LSR.
“We’ve got some good relationships established with them and those make it go a lot smoother. They each have the ability to have three interactive sports wagering providers, and there’s a few that have not filled that allotment, and that’s OK. They can launch with who they have ready to go when we get ready to start this in Kansas.”
2. Approving betting operators
This process is off and running. Operators have been setting up shop in Kansas for a few years. PointsBet and Caesars established partnerships with Kansas casinos in 2020. DraftKings and Bally Bet just recently partnered with Boothill Casino.
3. Approval of rules and regulations
The Kansas Attorney General’s Office has approved 15 sports-betting rules submitted by the Kansas Lottery Commission.
The gaming commission must now approve its own set of rules. It can also amend any rules submitted to the AG. The likelihood of any major amendments is low at this point.
One major rule change already approved was a change in the “Definitions” portion of the rules to include Kansas’s federally-recognized tribes. Without this change, the tribes would not have been able to offer sports betting.
For this change to become official, the tribes will also need to amend their tribal compacts with Gov. Laura Kelly. Then it must be approved by the Department of the Interior.
Gaming commission moving a step at a time
At the gaming commission’s meeting on Aug. 12, commissioners approved an amended version of draft regulations on sports betting. Allen, in speaking with PlayMissouri, insinuated once again that the process is moving along one step at a time.
“The big news from the meeting today was that our commission approved an amended version of the draft regulations that were posted on our website. We will be working on the amendments to the regulations so that we will be able to send those to the Attorney General’s office to start the process of getting those approved for temporary regulations.”
Obviously, several steps in the tortuous process remain before permanent sports betting regulations are ratified by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and the Kansas AG. It could be several more months.
Allen expressed optimism that the pieces are falling into place.
Sign up for promos now
Both FanDuel and DraftKings are ready for launch. They are both offering $100 in bonus bets promotions as part of a pre-launch offer. Bettors who sign up now can redeem the promo on launch day.
Interested Missouri residents should cross the border, download the apps, set up accounts, then keep their eyes on PlayMissouri for launch day details.
(Our sister site, PlayKansas, has FanDuel Kansas and DraftKings Kansas pre-launch sign-up details.)
Missouri feeling the sting
With five major pro sports teams to Kansas’s one, Missouri has got to feel the sting of its neighbor beating them to the sports betting finish line. Moreover, the fact that 2022 marks the fifth straight year The Show Me State has failed to pass sports betting legislation has got Missouri in a real slump.
Throughout the legislative session, both states looked to have a good chance to get the deal done. But the Missouri Senate ultimately derailed the Missouri sports betting train.
Sen. Denny Hoskins laid the blame on casinos. Casinos shoved it right back at the Senate. Such is the nature of things during a slump. Frustration mounts and finger pointing takes over. Missourians will have to wait at least one more year for their next shot.
Seeing their neighbor get the job done might be the motivation lawmakers in Missouri need to finally pass a sports-betting measure.