Legislative Fast Tracking
Although the road was long and circuitous to legalizing sports betting in the state, the launch was hardly that as Kansas Governor Laura Kelly fast-tracked Senate Bill 84 and took only 74 days to bring sports betting to the masses from the time she signed the legislation.
“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” Kelly said after the signing. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”
The soft launch occurred on September 1, 2022, and the full launch began just one week later.
Stephen Durrell, Executive Director of the Kansas Lottery, commented on the blazing speed of the sign-to-launch timetable in a press release last year when he said, “This announcement represents a lot of hard work and collaboration between the Kansas Lottery, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, our casino, and tribal partners.
“The process to bring this to fruition has moved at an unbelievable pace. We are excited to be bringing sports betting to Kansas players and adding more fun and exciting play options to the Sunflower State.”
Pay Off Complete
The hard work paid off as the four retail and six online sportsbooks combined for $1.85 billion in bets during the first year of operation generating $166.4 million in gross revenue based on an average hold of 9%.
“The first year of sports betting in Kansas was an overall success. Thanks to the hard work of so many people across agencies and organizations, we were able to launch in time for the professional football season,” said Cory Thone of the Kansas Lottery. “The year went smoothly, with no major issues or complications, and our players certainly had a blast betting on their favorite teams. We have learned a lot in our first year, and are eager to kick off the new sports season in the Sunflower State!”
Although the numbers pale in comparison to densely populated states like New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and New Jersey we should note that Kansas ranks 36th in population with only 2.9 million residents.
We should also point out that with the heavy use of promos and signup bonuses that sportsbooks can use as deductions, the adjusted gross revenue was only 36% of the $166.4 million or just $60 million that is taxable. That meant the state of Kansas collected just shy of $7 million in revenue.
That has become a bone of contention and although the state could set itself up for a lawsuit if it tried to raise the tax rate over the first five years, many states sunset the deductions sports betting operators can use after the first year. There is no such language in the Kansas sports betting bill as it stands which is a boon to the books.