We’re just over 60 days away from the opening of the 2022 NFL regular season, which could coincide with a historic day in the Sunflower State.
That is, of course, assuming Kansas sports betting hits its earliest targeted launch date of Sept. 8, a day before Buffalo and the L.A. Rams kick off the 2022 NFL season.
For now, regulators from the Kansas Lottery and Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission are hard at work getting draft regulations and rules in place — a key step as both parties move towards beginning the licensing process.
Todd Allen, who serves as the government relations manager for the KRGC, told BetKansas.com the regulatory agency and its colleagues at the state’s lottery are hard at work in advance of the KRGC’s next meeting July 22.
Once the KRGC’s commissioners approve the draft regulations and rules, then the agencies can begin the process of accepting and approving or denying licenses for Kansas sportsbook apps so residents can get their wagers in place for the Kansas City Chiefs' season opener against Arizona on Sept. 11.
“We’re just trying to learn as we go and all that, but sports betting companies that are sponsored by our lottery gaming facility managers are starting to send us preliminary information that our agency will be able to use to start the application process,” Allen told BetKansas.com.
“So, once we are able to identify in those companies who will actually need to be licensed, applications will be provided to them, and then they'll send those back in. And once we receive those, then we can start to do our background so that we can certify those companies to be able to provide sports wagering services in Kansas. So, I feel like we're making some progress on that end, for sure.”
Two Months Until Paydirt in Kansas
Allen couldn’t say for certain whether regulators and sports betting operators would be able to clear the hurdles necessary to get mobile sports betting in Kansas off the ground by Gov. Lara Kelly’s Sept. 8 informal deadline.
He did say the parties involved have shown a commitment to doing everything it takes to hit that date, however, and with any luck they will be successful.
“I know everyone’s hopeful to hit that Sept. 8 launch date, and it’s still a good goal to have,” Allen said. “And we’re hopeful that that can be achieved, but there’s still a lot of steps along the way that have to be done.”
For industry insiders, such as former Michigan state representative and current Head of Government Affairs for Sportradar, Brandt Iden, the possibility of an on-time launch in Kansas is a sight to behold.
Iden told BetKansas.com the mobile sports betting industry is amped to get the ball rolling on wagering in the state, calling the passage of Senate Bill 84 “one of the biggest legislative victories the industry has had this year.”
The former state representative said Allen and company will have their hands full hitting the Sept. 8 deadline, but other markets (Arizona, for instance) have accomplished such a feat.
“I think it’s going to be a little tough to meet that timeline because that’s moving pretty quickly,” Iden said. “That would be one of the quickest [states] we’ve ever seen a launch come to market.
“But I certainly think that [Kansas sports betting] can be up and running by the middle of [the NFL regular season] … And then the legislation calls for it to be absolutely up and going by January 1. I think that they're going to be up well before then.”
A Market Full of Sports Betting Potential
Both Iden and Allen are confident Kansas sports betting can be a juggernaut in the Midwest, especially thanks to Missouri’s failure to pass sports betting this spring.
With one professional sports team (Sporting Kansas City), two NASCAR races per year, and little competition from neighboring states, the Kansas market is poised to hit the ground running, Iden said.
Sporting Kansas City President Jake Reid told BetKansas.com the team is vetting potential sports betting partners.
The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway is looking forward to luring customers away from casinos in neighboring Kansas City, Missouri.
“I’m excited about the Kansas market,” Iden said. “I think it’s a nice, competitive setup with very reasonable tax rates and good market access — three skins for commercial operators, you've got the tribals with the ability to go in and compact which it looks like they're going to do with the governor's office.
“No one's limited in the amount [of market share] they can have. But I think overall, it will make for a nice competitive market.”
For Allen, getting to witness the state’s sports betting market launch from the ground floor has been a joy to behold.
Now comes the hard part, as regulators do their best to get everything in place so countless Kansans can get their wagers in place when Patrick Mahomes and company light up the NFL’s scoreboards this fall.
“Everybody we've visited with has been really receptive, everybody's been very positive,” Allen said. “I think we're going to have some good partnerships. And I'm excited to be a part of sports wagering in Kansas. It’s actually kind of neat to be on the ground floor of everything.”