The state of Kansas doesn’t have a boatload of big-time professional or collegiate teams, but they do have a few—namely the Kansas Jayhawks (college basketball), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and Kansas City Royals (MLB). With that kind of collection, you’d expect them to be a fairly progressive state in the gambling department. But they’re actually incredibly post-modern on this front compared to many other states, sarting with some of the surrounding ones.
Kansas Sports Betting Law
Sports betting isn’t specifically legal in Kansas, but it’s not officially illegal, either. This creates a gray area—which, for what it’s worth, isn’t unique to Kansas alone. Bettors must use their discretion to decide what’s right and what’s not. Nothing supports their right to use online sportsbooks and casinos. Ditto for daily fantasy sports. But since there’s nothing definitively decrying either of them, there’s some wiggle room for personal preference.
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Mix of Tribal and Commercial Casinos
Keeping in theme with their openness to most kinds of gambling, Kansas houses a nice mix of commercially and tribally operated casinos. There are nine in total, and the proportion is essentially split down the middle. Tribal casinos account for five the state’s primary gambling establishments; the other four are land-based conglomerates.
This isn’t really surprising when looking at Kansas’ other laws. Plus, it makes sense that they, unlock other places, will allow for both types of casinos. They’re valuable forms of revenue for the state government, and Kansas, being in the midwest, doesn’t have many other options for turning profit.
Poker Is Legal at Almost Every Level
Kansas’ casinos offer an ample opportunity to take a seat at poker tables, and the state’s flexible gambling laws allow for sizable games at one’s home and during certain formal events. But you still need a license to run a standalone poker establishment, and any place that doesn’t have one is subject to legal ramifications. Since Kansas isn’t known for their non-casino poker scene, this is simple: If you find yourself entering a poker room of any kind independent of those patron atmospheres, you’re doing something wrong.
Online Gambling Is…
Well, we don’t know what online gambling is considered in Kansas. There is nothing on the books against it, but local government has, in the past, intimated it thinks there is precedent within incumbent laws against it. But this stance is to be expected.
Kansas isn’t capitalizing on the online gambling industry, so officials reps are not about to sanction it. That doesn’t mean you cannot partake in it. The rules are fuzzy enough, if nonexistent, for you to dabble. Just make sure you aren’t betting and withdrawing obscene amounts of money that would be at risk of being flagged by the local government. That’s when you run into problems.
Buy Your Lottery Tickets Here…Just Not Online
You are able to purchase lottery tickets in Kansas, which is among the many participants in multi-state pools that drum up the chance return for winners. But these tickets cannot be purchased online, another sign that Kansas hasn’t yet steered into the digital gaming era. If you find yourself buying tickets for multi-state or local lottery contests, they’re more likely not fraudulent.
Kansas Gambling Law Overview
Please see below for a more specific breakdown of what betting types are and aren’t allowed in Kansas at this time.
- Casino Gambling: Legal
- Tribal Gambling: Legal
- Poker: Legal
- Horse-Race Betting: Legal
- Dog-Race Betting: Legal
- Lottery: Legal
- Daily Fantasy Betting: Not specified
- Social Gambling: Legal
- Charitable Gambling: Legal
- Online Gambling: Not specified
Kansas Sports Teams
Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
Slotting an NFL team in a market like Kansas is a no-brainer. There aren’t a ton of other local sports teams to detract from the attention they receive, and professional football franchises can, for now, still print money. The Kansas City Chiefs, as such, are Kansas’ most popular sports team.
That’s true now more than ever during head coach Andy Reid’s stay on the sidelines. He has guided the Chiefs to three playoff appearances over the last four years, establishing a system and product that constantly seems good for between 10 and 12 wins every year.
Kansas City Royals (MLB)
Let’s just say the Kansas City Royals‘ popularity within the state is complicated.
They are the only MLB team in town, so they’ve obviously monopolized some attention, and they have a rich history, punctuated by a strong stretch of success from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, off which they’ve been able to live. But the Royals have only recently started to climb back toward unbridled relevance.
After missing the playoffs in every summer since 1986—a span of almost three decades—Kansas City made it all the way to the World Series in 2014. The Royals lost, but they returned to the Big Dance in 2015. This time, they emerged as World Champions for the 2nd time in franchise history.
The year after, however, they finished with an 81-81 record and missed out on the postseason. For now, they’re back to hovering around .500, but it’s tough for really good teams in these smaller markets to remain so. Players get expensive, and franchises normally don’t have the deep pockets to keep everyone together much longer than three to five years. So the Royals’ window with this present core might be closing soon—if it hasn’t already.
Kansas Jayhawks (College basketball)
The men’s basketball team at the University of Kansas is, without question, the state’s second-most popular in-house sports team. Depending on how good the Chiefs are (or aren’t) in any given year, they might even leap-frog them on the likability ladder.
The Jayhawks have not missed an NCAA Tournament appearance since 1989. That’s patently ridiculous. Even more impressive, they’ve churned through just two head coaches during this time: Roy Williams, now the head honcho at the University of North Carolina, and Bill Self, who remains at the helm right now.
Although the Jayhawks have been subject to some early-tournament losses, they have a National Title under Self and continue to recruit NBA-level prospects who ensure they won’t soon fall off the national radar—a revelation in college basketball’s one-and-done era.
Kansas’ Biggest Sporting Event of the Year
Nascar racing is a pretty big deal in Kansas, so it makes sense that the Kansas Speedway, with a max capacity of 74,000 fans, would be the home to the most popular sporting events of the year. One wrinkle: The best event changes every season.
The Verizon IndyCar Series used to be held at the speedway annually but has since left. Despite the absence of a yearly billing, however, the Kansas Speedway is still typically good for between one and two major Nascar series races before every turn of the calendar.