Initial soft launch stage

Kansas sports betting officially launches; Gov. Kelly makes inaugural bet at Barstool Sportsbook in Hollywood Casino

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly placing the inaugural bet at Barstool Sportsbook in Hollywood Casino.
Reading time 3:11 min

Sports betting has now launched in Kansas. The Sunflower State debuted its market on Thursday, through a soft launch phase that saw six approved operators go live with their respective products. Gov. Laura Kelly placed the inaugural bet at the Barstool Sportsbook in Hollywood Casino in Kansas City. Kansas sports wagering's formal opening will be a week later, on September 8, in time for the NFL season kick-off. 

Per Senate Bill 84, each of the four state-operated casinos in Kansas will be able to offer both in-person sportsbooks and mobile sports betting on up to three platforms or applications, potentially meaning a total of 12 operators. The approved platforms that went live at the soft launch stage were BetMGM, Barstool, FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars and PointsBet. 

BetMGM was among the first platforms to launch. On the new market, CEO Adam Greenblatt said: “We’re confident sports fans across the Sunflower State will enjoy the excitement of wagering with BetMGM. We would like to thank the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, Kansas Lottery and Kansas Crossing Casino for being great partners and supporting our efforts."

BetMGM went live with Kansas Crossing Casino, which has already named its three mobile sports betting platforms partners, as it has also teamed up with Caesars and PointsBet. Of the three, only Caesars will be able to operate in-person sports wagering. The sports betting brand also celebrated the new launch through a statement.

"We're proud to deliver a world-class sports betting experience that matches the championship pedigree Kansas is known for," said Eric Hession, Co-President of Caesars Digital. "Our Caesars Sportsbook app has never been more user-friendly, and when you combine that with the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities offered through Caesars Rewards, we're thrilled about what we can bring to Kansas sports fans."

Kansas Crossing Casino's third partner, PointsBet, also celebrated the launch. "We are excited to be launching on the starting line and having our outstanding sportsbook product available to the people of Kansas from day one," CEO and managing director Sam Swanell had said ahead of the date. "With NFL season kicking off...  the timing is perfect to showcase our NFL in-play betting capabilities in particular."

As for sports betting giant FanDuel, the company didn't miss on the action and went live on Thursday through a deal with Kansas Star Casino. The platform also plans to open a temporary sportsbook on the 8th, along with Boyd Gaming, where former NFL wide receiver Jordy Nelson will place the ceremonial first bet. 

But much of the attention focused on Barstool Sportsbook, which will operate in-person and mobile sports wagering with Hollywood Casino in Kansas City. The operator held a ceremony for its temporary in-person amenity yesterday -which will be open while construction of the permanent one is underway-, with the Kansas Governor officially cutting the ribbon and placing the first bet.

Gov. Kelly spoke on the launch after placing a $15 Super Bowl bet on the Chiefs when the books first opened. "I don't think any bill I've ever signed has created this much excitement," she said, according to KMBC. FOX Bet, which also will launch with Hollywood Casino, has yet to confirm a launch date.

As for Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, it will offer mobile sports betting through DraftKings, which will have both online and in-person wagering. A temporary amenity adjacent to the casino will open ahead of the permanent location, set to be ready in early 2023. For now, the brand was among the first six to launch Thursday. Boot Hill Casino has also sports betting plans in place with Bally Bet and Golden Nugget Online Gaming, although a launch date has yet to be confirmed for the other two platforms.

This launch makes Kansas the second-fastest state behind Iowa to go from legal to live since PASPA was overturned in 2018. It is also the third state this year to go live with online sports betting after New York and Louisiana. 

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