Kansas has been one of the fastest moving states when it comes to legalizing sports betting. When Governor Laura Kelly signed the Kansas sports betting bill SB 84 into law on May 12th there were rumors that betting could go live before the start of the NFL Season. Since then, there have been few bumps on the road.
It’s now late July, and the start of the NFL season is barely a month away. However, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission has not yet voted on any regulations for the sports betting industry in Kansas. According to the KRGC director of wagering Todd Allen, it’s highly unlikely that Kansas sports betting apps will launch by September 8th. So when will betting finally go live?
The earliest possible voting date for the draft regulations is on August 12th, which theoretically leaves enough time for a early September launch. However, it’s not very likely that the regulations are going to suit all the stakeholders immediately. At the same time, KRGC must perform background investigations for the license applicants, so they will have their hands full for August and most likely most of September as well.
Even if the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission would finish reviewing licenses and regulations in August, it would only leave operators one week’s notice to go live in the state. Given that the state is pushing for an universal launch with retail and online gambling in Kansas going live on the same date, this timeline seems ambitious, and most industry experts expect betting to commence around week 8 of the NFL season.
Kansas Sports Betting Law
Kansas sports betting was approved by a vote of 21 to 13 in the Senate and by a vote of 73 to 49 in the House. The law that was signed on May 12th allows the state’s four land based casinos to open retail sportsbooks. Each of the land based casinos is also allowed to partner up with three online sports betting sites, such as BetMGM Kansas. In addition, the casinos can partner with up to 50 betting kiosks around the state.
The initial sports betting law did not include tribal operators. Currently the tribes are negotiating a new gaming compact, which would allow them to participate in both retail and online sports betting. If they can amend the compact, we might see the number of online licenses in Kansas increase from the 12 that are currently available.