5/14 Forever: Kansas Governor Laura Kelly Signs Bill Legalizing Sports Betting

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly put pen to paper on Senate Bill 84 on Monday, June 20, 2022 in an act that makes wagering on sports in Kansas a legal pastime. 

Dimers.com contributor Steven Wright explains that part of the state's intent might be to lure the Chiefs away from neighboring Missouri.


The ceremonial signing – the law was actually passed in May — took place at the State House, where Kelly was joined by representatives of the casino industry and state legislators.

“Soon, sporting events, casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues will have another way to attract Kansans to their establishments,” said the governor. “Legalizing sports betting is a common-sense solution that will keep Kansans’ money in Kansas. It’s one more way my Administration is working to make Kansas the most pro-business, pro-growth state in the country.” 

Revenue from the sports books for the state-owned casinos is projected to fall somewhere between $9 million and $45 million annually.

The move was one that Kelly has been pushing for some time. The bill is going to allow casinos in the state to create sports books and create digital platforms for wagering on games.

In addition, it also allows veterans organizations and restaurants to hold sports betting. With the amount of money that was flowing out of Kansas as more and more states legalize sports betting, Kelly was worried that Kansas would be left behind.

When will Kansas have Sports Betting?

The timing of this bill means that sports betting in Kansas can begin as soon as July 1

This was seen as a key date in the process as it will allow the various state regulators to get their act together in time for the 2022 football season.

While football isn’t everything when it comes to sports betting, it is certainly a needle mover and with the only two Big Four sports teams on the Kansas border being the Chiefs and the Royals, sports betting for this fall was seen as paramount in the Governor’s plan for the industry.

The way the law will work in Kansas is based around the four state-owned casinos. They are the avenues through which in-person or digital betting can take place. The oversight will be through the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission – alongside the Kansas Lottery – and each casino can tap this market in one of two ways. 

They can either decide to go it alone, establishing their own sports books, or they can decide to use established companies and have partnerships with up to three online operators. 

By doing so, they will presumably be able to get their mobile platforms out in a much timelier manner.

What Sportsbooks will be available in Kansas?

The deadline set for the regulators to set up their operations is January 1, 2023. 

It seems unlikely it will take that long for the first online sportsbooks to come into play in Kansas, with the likes of Bally’s, FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM all having announced planned partnerships with the state casinos. 

This is a bill that has been in the works for some time and has garnered support behind the scenes to the point that casinos and their partners have already been diligently working on being the first out of the gate.

The law lays out this timeline over the next couple of months for sports betting in Kansas:

Timeline for Kansas Sports Betting

July 1 plus 30 days: The lottery must publish in the Kansas Register “how it will receive, consider, and approve proposed lottery gaming facility management contracts.”

August 1: KRGC must publish its process for background checks (applications).

August 15: KRGC must open the background check process.

September 1:  Lottery must publish the process for submission of license requests.

Kansas Sports Betting Revenue Dispersion

One of the interesting things about this new law is where the money will be going. In addition to the expected fund to cover potential gambling addictions, a massive 80% of the revenue will be put into a fund to attract a professional sports team to Kansas. Given that the state is already the home of Sporting KC in the MLS, the targets would seem to be a team from MLB, NBA, NFL, or NHL.

The rumors will not go away that target No. 1 is luring the Chiefs over the border from Missouri. Arrowhead Stadium is iconic, but it is also old and not in the best area of Kansas City for other amenities and businesses to prosper. 

The prospects of the Chiefs in a brand new Kansas stadium in the Legends area of Kansas City, Kansas in the very affluent Johnson County may have picked up steam based on Governor Kelly’s signature Monday.


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