Sports betting in time for football season uncertain in Kansas


WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Many people are looking at the start of the NFL football season as when they wanted to see sports betting open – with what will be a soft launch.

On Friday, the Kansas Lottery said it was a possibility, but cautious people should consider it a safe bet, and the current goal for them is to get it right.

“It’s emotional. It’s moving forward, but the most important thing for us and for everyone is that we want the product to be functional, secure and safe to use. We obviously don’t want it to launch and then s ‘stop,’ said Cory Thone, Kansas Lottery’s public information officer.

Kansas is approaching some of the first deadlines for the law creating sports betting in the state, which went into effect earlier this month.

By August 1, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) must put in place a process to complete background investigations of sports betting platforms, and those investigations are to begin mid-month.

The KRGC is also drafting regulations to oversee sports betting, and its board is expected to adopt them next month.

Then, on September 1, the Kansas Lottery is to create the sports betting platform approval process.

The four public casinos have already announced partnerships with sports betting platforms that would enable retail and mobile sports betting in Kansas.

“We trust them to make their decisions for their business, and I know we have to approve of that, but we trust them and what they do, and that’s what they’re here for. Seeing that they are making that progress is good because it signals that they are ready. Everyone is getting ready,” Thone said.

Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City said this is something they have been working on for some time and already have relationships with sports betting platforms. They have already announced partnerships with two platforms and are considering a third.

“What citizens have been asking for for some time. I know we’ve been working on legislation that feels like three to five years to me,” said Ryan Deutsch, Deputy General Manager of Boot Hill Casino and Resort.

Boot Hill said it plans to open temporary sports betting kiosks this fall, but will open a full-scale bookmaker later this year.

The main author of Bet Kansas, Christopher Boanis monitoring the process and said all eyes are on Kansas, which is the latest state to allow sports betting and likely the only one to launch this fall.

He said Kansas stands to benefit from the lack of sports betting in neighboring states. An effort in Missouri failed this year.

“Kansas has pretty much a monopoly has a Midwest, so Iowa has an existing market, Colorado has mobile sports betting, but Kansas is in a unique position to really dominate,” Boan said.

Earlier this week Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway announced plans to open a temporary bookmaker in time for the NASCAR race on September 11.

Kansas sports betting law gives the state until early next year to fully open up sports betting.

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