The state of Kansas doesn't have any major sports teams to call its own, but the Midwest is positioned to take advantage of the new sports betting opportunity.
The U.S. Supreme Court in May 2018 opened the door for legal sports betting across the U.S. when it struck down a 20-year-old ban on gambling in most states.
In a best-case scenario, sports betting could come to the Sunflower State as soon as July 1, 2019. There are many issues to resolve in the statehouse before any bill is passed, including regulations and taxes, but the public support is another sign sports betting on the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL has backing among most legislators.
Betting Laws in Kansas
Almost three million people live in Kansas, a midwestern state in the U.S. heartland. Topeka is the capital, while Wichita is its largest city with almost 400,000 residents.
Kansas gambling laws — whether it's one of the 2,800 slot machines at The Woodlands in Kansas City or table games at the Kansas Star Casino near Wichita — is regulated at the state level.
All legalized gambling within Kansas is limited to the following areas:
- Commercial casino
- Tribal casino gambling
- Horse race betting
- Dog race betting
- Daily fantasy betting
- Social gambling
- Charitable gambling
- Online gambling
Gamblers have to be 18 years old in Kansas to play the lottery, bingo or pari-mutuel wagering. However, they have to be 21 to enter a casino or play poker.
There are two types of casinos in the state of Kansas — four state-owned and operated establishments and five tribal gambling houses.
There are only three Kansas casinos with hotels — Kansas Star Casino hotel, Kansas Crossing casino and hotel and Prairie Band casino and resort. There are no casinos in Wichita. The closest is the Kansas Star casino in Mulvane, about 17 miles south. Kansas City has the most casinos with three.
A potential 10th casino with pari-mutuel betting and slot machines — a "racino" — is still under review by the state legislature.
Pari-mutuel wagering was legalized in 1986 in Kansas, which had been the home to a thriving thoroughbred and quarter horse racing industry for almost 100 years.
Today, the sport is dead in the state as excessive tax rates made profitability impossible. Bettors can still wager on live racing from other racetracks, but not famous Kansas tracks like Eureka Downs and Anthony Downs, which have closed in recent years.
Voters approved the creation of the Kansas lottery in 1986. The lottery, which offers state-wide and national games like Powerball and Mega Millions, is available at about 1,900 retail locations. Today, players can choose from around 90 different games.
Daily Fantasy Sports
Residents wanting to play Daily Fantasy Sports were stuck in a grey area until a bill, signed in May 2015, opened the door to such action.
The Kansas Constitution allows only the state to administer games that fit a broad definition of lottery, and the state’s gambling regulator announced it viewed private fantasy sports leagues as illegal lotteries. But the attorney general asserted that they are legal games of skill, and legal under the new bill.
Kansas Sports Betting Laws
State lawmakers will re-introduce a sports betting legalization bill early in 2019. The bill follows up on a similar effort in 2018 and highlights the state’s commitment to sports betting.
"I think one of the keys to the success of sports betting in Kansas would be to make it accessible widespread," State Rep. Jan Kessinger told the media.
"Some people say, 'Oh, let`s just have it at the casinos.' You can't have sports betting at just four locations in Kansas.”
With the wave of sports betting spreading westward, Kansas could be hopping on board very soon. While some residents want to wait to place their bets at land-based sports book, others have taken to playing their favorite teams online at such top-ranked sites like Bovada.
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Favorite Sports Teams in Kansas
The state calls two major league sports teams its own since they are located in Kansas City, just across the state line in Missouri. It's a short drive to see these two teams play.
Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
The Kansas City Chiefs, founded in 1960, have won three AFC championships (1962, 1966, 1969) and became the second AFL team to defeat an NFL team in the AFC-NFL World Championship game when they beat the Minnesota Vikings on Jan. 11, 1970 in Super Bowl IV.
The Chiefs were also the second team to appear in more than one Super Bowl and the first to appear in the championship game in two different decades.
Kansas City Royals (MLB)
The Kansas City Royals were founded as an expansion franchise along with the Seattle Pilots in 1969. They have won two World Series (1985, 2015) and lost two.
The team was a powerhouse 50 years ago, appearing in the playoffs seven times from 1976 to 1985, led by stars such as Amos Otis, Hal McRae, John Mayberry, George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson and Bret Saberhagen.
For 28 consecutive seasons (1986-2013), the Royals did not qualify for the postseason — one of the longest droughts during baseball's current wild-card era.
NASCAR may not be bursting at the seams in attendance like it was a few years ago, but it is still a popular bet in sports books.
The unpredictable racing of this sport makes two stops at the Kansas Speedway in Kansas City every year with the Spring Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Night Race and the Fall's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Elimination Race.
In addition, the track hosts nearly 200 non-NASCAR events per year, including driving schools, fundraisers and corporate events.