With a year of operation under the state’s belt and more than $2 billion wagered in total, Year Two appears at least as bright for Kansas sports betting.
That’s the takeaway from various power players, both inside and outside of the state limits, with the state coming off a historic September that included a record-high handle of $219,293,493. Fresh off a September revenue report that saw a 36.6% year-over-year increase in wagering handle and the heart of the NFL regular season in the weeks ahead — which includes Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl odds near the top of the NFL — there’s no reason to think the second calendar year of sports betting will be a disappointment.
One such person who sees it that way is Cory Thone, who serves as the Kansas Lottery’s public information officer. Thone told BetKansas.com the first year has been a whirlwind that’s seen more highs than lows overall. The longtime Lottery official said the opening year has been a success story thanks in large part to the slew of successful sports teams (including the Kansas Jayhawks’ men’s basketball and football teams and the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs just across the Missouri line).
“Sports betting officially launched in Kansas in September of 2022, and it has been a wild first year in the Sunflower State,” Thone said. “This state was already sports crazy, and when you add in the success of so many local teams and programs, it has been an exciting first year for sure. Best of luck to everyone and remember to play responsibly.”
What Kansas Sports Did Right in Year One
The first full year of Kansas betting apps has been a success, not just when it comes to the money operators have taken in (which is at $2 billion and counting), but when it comes to showcasing how strong the state’s sports fandom is to a national audience.
Brendan Bussmann, who serves as the managing partner of B Global, told BetKansas.com the state’s market has blown away expectations — with a much larger handle than what many expected given the state’s low population (2,937,150) and lack of major population areas.
“After one year, Kansas has a strong base for its sports betting market,” Bussmann said. “With the market shift in players of Fanatics taking over for PointsBet and the advent of ESPN coming into the market with Penn Entertainment in the Kansas City market, there will continue to be additional growth opportunities in addition to the maturing of the market."
Can Kansas Keep Momentum Going?
Kansas’ second calendar year should see an even larger total than the past 12 months, at least based on how other states have fared. In the case of Arizona’s sports betting marketplace, the state’s total handle grew by around 16% in Year Two versus where it was between the state’s September 2021 launch and the end of August 2022.
Should Kansas see a similar bump in the second year of operation, it would go from just over $2 billion to just over $2.4 billion in total sports betting handle. While Arizona’s numbers (roughly $5.4 billion in Year One and $6.2 billion in Year Two) are much larger than Kansas’, there’s still reason for optimism. Some of that optimism is based on the fact Missouri residents are crossing the border to take advantage of Kansas sportsbook promos.
“Kansas continues to be the No. 1 beneficiary from the lack of ability for Missouri to move,” Bussmann said of Missouri’s failure to approve sports betting. “As long as Senator Denny Hoskins puts his family first over his constituents and the states, those in the Kansas City market will continue to drive over the boarder to participate in legal sports betting.”
Brandt Iden, who serves as the vice president of government affairs at Fanatics Betting & Gaming (which owns the U.S. sports betting assets of PointsBet Kansas) sees the Sunflower State as a diamond in the rough for operators.
“We’re one year into regulated sports wagering in Kansas and the market is booming,” Iden told BetKansas.com. “It was great to see the quick market launch, which gave consumers the ability to bet on their Chiefs last Super Bowl. Had that one turned out a little differently, I suspect the state revenues would have been even higher.
“Overall, Kansas is on an upward trajectory, and I am excited to see how revenues look after this year’s NFL season.”