There may have been better places to celebrate the debut of Kansas sports betting apps Thursday, but perhaps none were more fitting than Coffeyville — the one-time home of the man who authored the greatest upset in boxing history.
When Buster Douglas knocked Mike Tyson out in 1990, it sent shockwaves through the boxing and sports betting worlds.
More than 30 years later, Coffeyville — where Douglas played basketball for the local community college — and the rest of Kansas again shook the betting universe.
Kansas became the latest state to support legalized sports betting, as national operators began taking wagers at noon Thursday.
Kansas sports betting launched with all the Midwestern efficiency and charm you would expect. The four-month turnaround from legislative approval to taking wagers is almost unprecedented in the United States.
While there were concerns expressed on social media about some players unable to place bets because of issues with location services, Day 1 in Kansas seems to have been a success.
“We are pleased that sports wagering has successfully launched today in Kansas,” said Cory Thorne, Public Information Officer for the Kansas Lottery. “It’s clear that sports betting is very popular with our players, and we will soon have more information available as we start evaluating the first day’s wagering.”
DraftKings Sportsbook Kansas and FanDuel Sportsbook launched right at noon Thursday, while BetMGM and Caesars followed later in the day.
BetMGM’s first bet was a $35 futures wager on Cincinnati to win the Super Bowl. PointsBet, which also got underway at noon, took its first bet on the Kansas City Royals’ moneyline against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon.
Coffeyville is more than an hour's drive from the nearest state-owned casino, but it could become an interesting betting intersection. It’s Kansas’ closest town to Tulsa, which is Oklahoma's second-largest city. Oklahoma, like Missouri to the east and Nebraska to the north, has yet to legalize sports betting.
On Thursday, for sports betting fans with a working cell phone, Coffeyville might as well have been Las Vegas.
Day 1 Filled with Betting Bonuses
The opening day of sports betting brought out an almost overwhelming amount of Kansas sportsbook promotions.
Those who pre-registered with the BetMGM Kansas bonus code had four $50 free bets waiting in their account when the operator went live.
We spent those four bets on a weekend college football parlay, the Kansas City Chiefs giving 4.5 points in their NFL opener next week at Arizona, a Houston Astros World Series futures bet, and Serena Williams to continue her pre-retirement run Friday night at the U.S. Open.
BetMGM also offered a risk-free college football bet, which we used to take West Virginia getting 7.5 points against hated rival Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
For first time bettors in Kansas, the BetMGM app gets high marks. FanDuel was also a great experience for a first timer.
We used our risk-free $10 college bet with FanDuel on Houston giving 4.5 points on Saturday at Texas-San Antonio. By making a $5 bet, we received a $150 free bet, which we used on Arkansas -6.5 at home Saturday in a top 25 showdown against Cincinnati.
At DraftKings, we took advantage of the odds boost on Thursday’s WVU-Pitt over/under total points, while the Caesars Sportsbook Kansas promo code gave us a risk-free bet on Arizona State -24.5 on Thursday.
DraftKings got high marks on social media.
“I set up a few (accounts),” one bettor told BetKansas.com on Twitter. “DraftKings is my favorite so far. I placed a $5 bet and received eight $25 bet credits to use over the next week.”
Kansas Sports Betting Still Catching On
Though the sports betting world was focused on Kansas on Thursday, that fact skipped past some people in Coffeyville.
Three men who stopped into a local fast food restaurant for ice cream Thursday afternoon said they weren’t really sports fans.
“Drag racing,” one man replied when asked about his sports interest.
But the man knew sports betting was legal in the state.
“I follow the news,” he said.
On Thursday, from Coffeyville to Kansas City — and all points in between — the news was good for sports bettors and operators.