Barstool Sportsbook, whose majority ownership belongs to the recently rebranded PENN Entertainment, announced plans to open the first physical sports betting facility at a NASCAR track. The amenity, which will be located at Kansas Speedway, aims to open as a temporary facility in early September, in time for the beginning of the NFL season, which represents the biggest period of the year for US sports betting.
The temporary sportsbooks will be under the Hollywood Casino’s Turn 2 Sports Bar and Restaurant and will feature kiosks, betting windows, odd boards, TVs, and a temporary bar, allowing clients to wager on any sporting event underway during the race weekend.
The full-scale Barstool Sportsbook, set to be built in the former Epic Buffet location, will begin construction towards the end of August and will include a full restaurant, field house games, and accessibility to the giant outdoor patio that overlooks the speedway.
The NFL kickoff game is set to be played on September 8, between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams. On September 9-11 the Kansas Speedway is scheduled to host four races anchored by a NASCAR Cup Series race, the Hollywood Casino 400, presented by Barstool. The temporary venue's opening would allow the brand to capitalize on these events.
Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway
"This will be a great catalyst for the entire region," said Rick Skinner, general manager of the Hollywood Casino at the speedway, according to Kansas City Business Journal. "This year, Kansas saw fit to pass sports wagering and Missouri did not, which puts our property in an advantageous position to not only welcome our friends from across Kansas but also across Missouri.
"It puts a highlight on the Kansas side of the state line because we'll have a monopoly on it until Missouri decides to act," Skinner added. "This will boost not only the speedway and our casino but the Legends, Sporting KC, and the entire area."
Lawmakers finally managed to pass sports gaming in the state after years of failed attempts through legislation that allows both mobile and retail betting at casinos. The law allows casinos to join forces with online betting platforms and offer in-person betting, including partnerships with a total of up to 50 retailers. Additionally, the legislation permits major league sports, including Sporting Kansas City and the speedway, to offer sports wagering.
"We’re excited to be a part of this because having a casino and a sportsbook overlooking Turn 2 — that’s a pretty big deal,” said NASCAR spokesman Matt Humphreys, according to the cited source. "If this opens up for the NFL’s opening game, there will be people coming in maybe for the first time who see the Speedway and want to come back for the weekend. This is just a great way to get new eyeballs on the sport, and that’s really cool."
The Kansas sports betting law took effect on July 1 and gives the state until the start of next year to fully open sports betting. The law calls for a 10% tax on each bet, with estimates of about $41 million in revenue for the state over the next five years. A total of 80% is earmarked for a Kansas Department of Commerce fund to provide incentives for pro sports teams to come to the state or to finance the construction of a professional sports facility in Kansas.
The creation of the fund coincided with comments from Kansas City Chiefs President Mark Donovan in March. At the time, he said the team had been considering a move to Kansas. However, Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt recently said the Chiefs' first priority would to be renovate GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri instead of moving. He added that the Chiefs would continue to evaluate its options to figure out what's best for the franchise and its fan base.
Additionally, the fund isn't likely to raise enough money by itself to build a new NFL stadium in Kansas or lure a pro sports franchise. Projections show that Kansas could reap $900,000 in sports wagering revenue in 2023, $3 million in 2024, and $5 million in 2025. Every new NFL stadium that opened since 2009 has cost more than $1 billion to build. However, the possibility to open in-stadium sportsbooks could potentially sweeten the deal for teams considering a relocation.