Goal for Hollywood Casino: Retail Kansas Sports Betting By September NASCAR Weekend

Goal for Hollywood Casino: Retail Kansas Sports Betting By September NASCAR Weekend
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

There’s a real chance the first retail sportsbook in the Sunflower State is in the second corner of Kansas Speedway.

The track’s Hollywood Casino plans on opening its Barstool Sportsbook Kansas retail facility this September, or whenever the state launches wagering officially.

Track officials announced in late July that Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway will partner with Barstool Sportsbook on a retail facility. To promote that partnership, the Sept. 11 race will be the Hollywood Casino 400 presented by Barstool Sportsbook.

The goal is to have sports betting in Kansas up and running in time for the start of the NFL season, which is the same weekend as this year’s Hollywood Casino 400.

When the state’s sports betting market does come online, BetKansas.com is the place to go for the latest and best Kansas sportsbook bonuses.

BetKansas.com recently chatted with Rick Skinner, who serves as the vice president and general manager of the gaming facility, about the company’s decision to partner with Barstool Sportsbook and more.

Below is a transcript of that conversation, edited for brevity and clarity.

New Name for September NASCAR Race

BetKansas.com: How are things going at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway?

Skinner: It’s going really well. We had a big announcement that we're renaming the Hollywood 400, to the Hollywood 400 presented by Barstool Sportsbook. The race this year is on Sept. 11. And we’ll have a new logo and a little different name going forward. So, we're all excited about that.

BetKansas.com: What is Hollywood Casino’s timeline for getting everything needed in place to launch your temporary facility in September?

Skinner: Well, our goal and our hope is that we could potentially have retail up and running prior to the NFL season. And of course, in time for race weekend.

The KRGC is working diligently to get the regulations in line. The Kansas Lottery is working diligently on the addendums to the management contracts for the facility managers in Kansas. And everyone that I've talked to, we're all focusing on trying to be ready by the beginning of the NFL season.

It’s still up in the air, whether that will come to fruition because a lot has to happen and licensing has to occur, but everyone is certainly working towards that goal.

(After the July meeting of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, director of wagering Todd Allen was less sure of a Sept. 9 launch date).

BetKansas.com: What does a retail facility add to Hollywood Casino’s existing offerings in your opinion?

Skinner: Well, I think that it adds a lot. The fact that Kansas passed sports wagering and Missouri didn't. That's an added attraction to all of our friends over on the Missouri side to come over to our little corner of NASCAR nation.

But I think that, above all else, it's a continuation of what we've strived to do here at Hollywood Casino, which is provide multiple entertainment options, whether it's slots, tables, live poker, the great restaurants, the Sunset Bar, Boulevard Bar, etc.

And sports wagering will be another amenity. And it'll be great because it'll be right near where our patio is. We’ve had a great summer, so it’s just continuing to add entertainment options and give people choices as far as where they'd like to pursue their entertainment dollar.

BetKansas.com: Why did Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway partner with Barstool Sportsbook in particular?

Skinner: With Barstool Sports, pre-pandemic, Penn National Gaming purchased a large stake in the company that eventually turns into a bigger position in them with eventual opportunity for full buyout of the organization of Barstool Sportsbook.

So, it's great because they're a part of us. They're part of Penn National Gaming, just like The Score is. And so, it just made a natural fit for us to pursue it as part of our sports wagering and in the multitude of locations that we've opened that it's been extremely well received.

Hollywood Casino Looking for Additional Betting Partners

BetKansas.com: The state’s new betting law allows casinos to operate up to three Kansas mobile betting apps. What does it take to successfully partner with multiple operators?

Skinner: I think the big key is that Barstool Sportsbook would be our primary skin or our primary partner. And then finding good partners that you can work with for the secondary and tertiary skins. And we're in the process of that. We're working diligently with our partners at NASCAR to identify successful partners.

BetKansas.com: Shortly after sports betting was signed into law, Boot Hill Casino announced a partnership to create Bally Bet Kansas and DraftKings Kansas. How are your negotiations going for your other two mobile partners?

Skinner: They're ongoing right now. I know that the group at Penn National Gaming is working diligently to identify who those are. And really here at the property, our biggest focus is getting this retail sportsbook open.

BetKansas.com: What kind of market does Hollywood Casino see for sports betting in Kansas?

Skinner: I think it's going to be a spectacular market — depending on how retail and mobile sports betting roll out, whether they roll out together or retail’s first and then mobile sports betting comes second.

The fact that Missouri did not pass sports wagering really creates a significant opportunity for us on the Kansas side to welcome, not only our great friends in Kansas, but to welcome our great friends in Missouri, over here to Kansas Speedway and Hollywood Casino.

So, I think it opens up a very large market for us that our Missouri competitors can't emulate, at least not right now.

BetKansas.com: How can a facility that hosts one or two major events a year become a year-round sports betting destination?

Skinner: *Chuckles* You put a Hollywood Casino in Turn 2.

I know that’s a short answer. But really, I mean, if you've ever been out here for one of the races, it's shocking, the quantity of NASCAR fans that are in our front yard, as I like to call it. It turns into a massive camping ground.

So, you get a very large, captured audience that loves the sport you're associated with. And I think that's just going to lend itself to great opportunities. And also, we're talking with Sporting KC, who is just a rock’s throw away from our facility that we've enjoyed a great partnership with for a lot of years, about sports betting opportunities, and how we can all grow from it.

BetKansas.com: What’s your parting shot for people that read this story on the Barstool Sportsbook at Kansas Speedway and the casino’s future sports betting plans?

Skinner: My parting shot would be we are so beyond excited to continue to expand on our partnership with NASCAR. They're a fantastic partner. It was great having Pam Warren and Rusty Wallace here [in July] to assist in the announcement of the new Hollywood 400 Presented by Barstool Sportsbook.

And we're just super excited and we're all working diligently — the regulators and the properties are all diligently working to get the retail sportsbook open as soon as possible. And we'll see how quickly mobile [sports betting] follows, but we can't wait to welcome all of our friends in Kansas and all of our friends in Missouri, as I said, to our corner of NASCAR nation.

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Christopher Boan is a lead writer at BetKansas.com specializing in covering state issues. He covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years.

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