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'Excited it's finally over line': Sporting Kansas City exec Jake Reid on sports wagering in Kansas

Sporting KC sports wagering.jpg
Posted at 4:24 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 19:16:47-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One day after Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill to legalize sports wagering in the state, Sporting Kansas City President and CEO Jake Reid signaled his support and the club's eagerness to bring offerings to Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.

"We're excited that it's finally over the line," Reid said in a video conference Friday with reporters.

The bill allows casinos in Kansas to partner with or create digital sports-gambling platforms and open sportsbooks.

From Sporting KC's perspective, it provides a new (and potentially popular) way to interact with fans and the public.

"I think it's going to have a profound impact on fan engagement, the level that people are paying attention to the sport," Reid said. "I've kind of equated before to fantasy football."

Reid said the team already has a long-term relationship with Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, which is located near Sporting KC's home stadium, but the club has nothing concrete when it comes to sports wagering just yet.

"We're actively in discussions about what that looks like," Reid said.

Hollywood Casino at Kansas City Speedway Vice President and General Manager Rick Skinner told KSHB 41 on Thursday that the casino is already making plans for when sports betting launches in the state.

"We're going to get this open as soon as possible," Skinner said. "Our objective is to get this open before football season, so people, right at the beginning of the season, can come in and put their bets on the Chiefs to win."

The hope is for the Kansas Lottery — which will own and license sports wagering operations in Kansas, and has pledged an expeditious rollout — bring legalized sports wagering in Kansas online in the fall.

Under the new law, there will be a 10% tax on each bet with most of the revenue placed in a fund aimed at attracting a major sports team, perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs, to Kansas.

Reid shied away Friday from taking a stance on that portion of the bill.

"(I'm) aware of it," he said. "Other than that, for us, we're worried about a season and not whose going to be our neighbor or not down the road."

Reid said the bill also allows for kiosks within venues like Children's Mercy Park, though he doesn't anticipate having those or a sports-wagering lounge in place and operational during Sporting KC's 2022 season.

The club also plans to include a mobile option, which has proven to be the most popular way to place bets in state's where sports wagering already exists, and believes its well positioned to integrate it into the game-day experience.

"Everything is on the mobile platform at this point, so your ticketing, your parking, mobile pay at concessions," Reid said. "I think the good news is this is just an added layer to the mobile application."