KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Now that sports gambling is law in Kansas, the state is gearing up for a 2022 rollout.
Organizers hope that sports fans will be able to bet on Kansas City Chiefs games at some point this upcoming season.
Sports betting usually happens through cell phones through apps such as DraftKings, FanDuel or BetMGM, to name a few.
Once set up, sports betting will be legal in Kansas. Kansas joins 30 other states and Washington D.C where sports gambling is legal.
Missouri lawmakers did not pass a sports betting bill this session.
In this 360 story, we hear from multiple perspectives, including:
- Sports fans
- Kansas lawmakers who supported the bill becoming law
- A Kansas lawmaker who opposes the law
- A Missouri lawmaker who opposed a sports betting bill
- Casinos and businesses preparing for sports betting
- An expert on gambling addiction
- Sporting KC president
KSHB 41 talked to several fans about sports betting becoming legal in Kansas. Most weren’t bothered by betting.
“What’s the issue?” asked Nissi Woods. “It might make me want to watch it more.”
"It’s the same as going to a casino,” Dakota Bourcard added. “I’d do it, for sure.”
"I’d probably get way more into sports if I were putting money on ‘em,” Caitlin May said. “[I'd] Scream at the TV and stuff like that.”
Bruce Smith was the most skeptical.
"I don’t know about any of that,” Smith said when asked if he would do any sports betting. "We throw money at the lottery, but that’s like throwing it out here on the steps of the Plaza."
The Kansas Lottery Commission projects sports wagering could bring in nearly $41 million dollars over five years.
The law gained support from lawmakers looking to woo a professional sports team across the state line.
“Missouri needs to take notice of Kansas,” Sen. Rob Olson said. “We want to give the opportunities to them franchises if they want to move across the line and be in Kansas."
Rep. Stephanie Clayton, D-Overland Park, also points to other possible economic benefits.
“So while people are enjoying that, they will also be spending money in our restaurants, in our sports bars,” she said.
But Rep. Paul Waggoner said the state is not getting enough money coming in.
“The state of Kansas is hardly going to take in $5 million dollars from it and there’s very little money that’s going to go to problem gambling fund,” he said.
Missouri lawmaker who opposed the bill
A Missouri sports gambling bill did not pass this session.
Sen. Denny Hoskins blamed an amendment in the bill that would not legalize lottery terminals, too.
Earlier in the session, the Warrensburg republican said the proposed tax rate of 8% was too low.
“I mean basically, we’re just giving away money to the casinos, which in my opinion are already profitable,” he told KSHB 41 on March 25.
Casinos and other businesses
Kansas casinos like Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway are gearing up.
The casino’s Vice President and General Manager, Rick Skinner, told KSHB 41 last month that the casino is turning a former buffet into a sports book.
“We’re going to get this open as soon as possible,” Skinner said. “Our objective is to get this open before football season.”
KSHB 41 recently checked with Kansas Gaming Commission.
A representative said regulations are still in draft form. The spokesperson said the hope is to start taking bets sometime during the football season.
The Olathe based company, Butler National Corporation, manages Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, Kansas.
Butler already has a partnership with two national sports betting brands, according to Butler Vice President Chris Reedy.
"We’re allowed three online sports betting platforms, and we have relationships signed up with two of them — Draft Kings and Bally’s,” Reedy said.
Gambling addiction counselor
Counselor Debra Neal worried the new law could lead to gambling addictions.
“An individual who is already susceptible, and we do see risk factors,” she said. "The sky is the limit in terms of all these different sites, all these different types of betting, and they’re all set up really to know how to keep people fully engaged.”
Sporting KC President
Sporting KC President Jake Reid is a fan of sports gambling and think it could have an impact on interest in sports.
“I think it’s going to have a profound impact on fan engagement,” Reid said. “The level that people are paying attention to the sport. I’ve kind of equated before to fantasy football.”
As part of KSHB 41 News' commitment to providing context and depth in our reporting, we've excited to share our latest project, which we're calling 360. This project takes stories and topics that our communities are talking about and explores different perspectives on the issue. You can be a part of the process by e-mailing your ideas and thoughts to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.