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Open for business: Sports wagering launches in Kansas

Gov Kelly Wager.jpeg
Posted at 12:20 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-04 20:05:57-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Place your bets!

Officials in Kansas celebrated the soft launch of legal sports betting in the state Thursday.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and others were at Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas, when betting went legal at noon.

Kelly made the state’s first legal bet by wagering $15 that the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl.

Hollywood Casino is one of two casinos across the state which launched with both an in-person sportsbook as well as a mobile sportsbook partnership with Barstool Sports. A total of six mobile-gaming apps went live Thursday and began accepting wagers in Kansas.

“Every day I hear from Kansans across the state who are eager to finally place legal wagers on sports. I’m glad we were able to move quickly to get this bipartisan effort done in time for football season,” Kelly said in a statement. “Now, casinos, restaurants, and other venues will have another way to attract Kansans to their establishments — creating jobs and driving economic growth. And I’m willing to bet on that. Go Chiefs!”

Earlier this year, Kansas legislators passed a bill clearing the way for legal sports betting. Kelly signed the legislation in May.

“We are so grateful for the leadership of Governor Kelly and the legislature to finally get legalized sports wagering over the goal line this year,” Lydia Garvey, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, said in a statement.  “We have been waiting anxiously for this day to arrive, and I’m confident many of our customers will follow her lead in betting on Kansas City to emerge as champions once again.”

Gov. Kelly Chiefs bet.jpeg
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and others were at Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas, when betting went legal at noon. Kelly made the state’s first legal bet by wagering $15 that the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl.

In addition to Barstool, the other sports-betting mobile apps approved to take wagers in Kansas are BetMGM, Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet. Caesars' launch apparently was delayed.

Hollywood Casino, Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City, Kansas, Star Casino in Mulvane and Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel in Pittsburg are authorized by the state to offer sportsbooks under the new law.

"Tribal casinos are also working to align on contracts with the State of Kansas for sports wagering," Kelly's office said in a release. "These casinos will be authorized to launch as soon as they are ready. "

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Across the state line in Missouri, its state legislature was unable to advance a bill during the 2021 legislative session — much to the disappointment of Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas and despite lobbying from Kansas City Chiefs officials.