Regulators Unsure Whether Kansas Sports Betting Will Launch by Start of NFL Season

Regulators Unsure Whether Kansas Sports Betting Will Launch by Start of NFL Season
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The monthly meeting of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission on Friday left questions surrounding the rollout of sports betting in Kansas unanswered.

Todd Allen, the director of wagering for the KRGC, told BetKansas.com the agency’s members did not vote on draft regulations surrounding the rollout of wagering, which could cause the launch date to be pushed back.

The KRGC board’s next meeting isn’t until Aug. 12, which would be less than a month before the targeted launch date of Sept. 8, when the NFL regular season kicks off.

Allen said the KRGC and Kansas Lottery, who are teaming up to oversee Kansas sportsbook apps, could roll forward with whatever temporary regulations the commission’s board approves, but that various testing and licensing requirements for operators would take time to accomplish.

“Stranger things have happened, right?” Allen said of the KRGC and Kansas Lottery hitting the Sept. 8 deadline. “There are just a lot of other processes that have to take place before we can get up and running. I don’t know where the Kansas Lottery is, but they have to finalize contracts with our lottery gaming facility managers.

“… So, all those interactive sports wagering platforms, all the equipment kiosks, all that'll have to go through independent test labs and have letters certifying that the equipment’s ready to go.”

A Race to Week 1 of the NFL Season

Allen said the ability of the KRGC and Kansas Lottery to get sports betting running by the time the Kansas City Chiefs kick off the regular season against Arizona on Sept. 11 hinges on a number of variables, from equipment checks to staffing levels.

All of those checklist items must be knocked out before wagering can commence, Allen said, though the commission’s members first must agree upon a target launch date in the first place.

To accomplish that, Allen said the KRGC and lottery will have to work hand-in-hand.

“We're kind of a two-agency state, with the lottery being more of the owner-operator and us being more the regulator,” Allen said. “But we'll have to work together on where we feel we're both at, agency-wise and things that need to be accomplished, so we can work towards a date that we feel would be feasible for everybody.”

The main concern the KRGC and lottery have is to launch in a manner that serves the state’s residents well, instead of rushing to get a slapdash system in place by a certain date.

“We have done a lot of modifications to our regulations, tried to listen to our operators with their input, because a lot of their input was very, very well thought out. And we feel like we're starting to get a better product to be able to put in place,” Allen said.

“And while we want to try to hurry and get up and running, to have wagers at some point during this NFL season, our goal still remains the same that we have to uphold the integrity of not only gaming, but also sports wagering in Kansas. And we want to make sure that when that product comes out to the patron, that it's going to be an honest product and that the state of Kansas can be proud of it.”

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.

Kansas Casinos See Sharp Decline in June

Another topic discussed during Friday’s KRGC meeting was the revenue of the four state-owned casinos, which saw a nearly 10% drop during the month of June from where they were in May.

In total, the four casinos (Boot Hill Casino & Resort, Kansas Star Casino & Resort, Hollywood Casino & Resort, and Kansas Crossing Casino & Resort) reported $30.264 million in revenue, which was a 9.6% drop from the $33.495 million reported in May.

Overall, the state’s share of that revenue was $6.658 million in June, which represented a 9.6% decline from the $7.369 million the facilities brought in during May.

In total, Hollywood Casino was the revenue leader in Kansas, at $11.719 million, followed by Kansas Star ($11.715 million), Boot Hill ($3.674 million), and Kansas Crossing ($3.155 million).

Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway announced last week it would be opening a Barstool Sportsbook Kansas retail location this fall, along with renaming its Sept. 11 NASCAR race the Hollywood Casino 400 presented by Barstool Sportsbook.

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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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