The soft launch of sports wagering last week provided some time for players and those offering betting to get used to the new sports wagering processes in Kansas, according to Kansas Lottery Commission executive director Stephen Durrell.
Durrell said at Wednesday’s Kansas Lottery Commission meeting that he expected little change from the soft opening last week to the full launch planned today.
While he did not provide any statistics on the number of bets placed in Kansas, Durrell said the soft launch was very successful and popular.
The most bets at the soft opening were placed on Kansas State University football, with the University of Kansas in second place and the Kansas City Royals in third, he said.
Gov. Laura Kelly placed the first sports bet in the state, a wager that the Kansas City Chiefs would win the next Super Bowl.
The Kansas City Chiefs were not in the top five, but Durrell added he expected that to change as the Chiefs’ season gets underway.
According to Durrell, in the state’s definition of sports wagering, the wagers are not final until the event is completed. That will affect the way that the number of bets is tabulated.
Reportedly, there were many people in Missouri trying to place a bet, but those bets were rejected, as the Kansas law states that all bets must be placed within the state of Kansas.
Also, some players in Kansas tried to use a credit card to pay for the wagers, but one credit card company did not know sports wagering was operating in Kansas, and denied payments through several platforms, according to Durrell. He said that was caused not by any lottery or casino staff, but by someone at the credit card company not getting the notice that wagering had started.
In Kansas, the state law says that the casinos will offer sports wagering, and the Kansas Lottery and Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission are providing the rules, with regulatory supervision. The casinos may contract with platforms that offer online sports betting in Kansas. The casinos also may offer in-person sports wagering. In Kansas City, Kansas, the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway has started offering on-site sports wagering.
The Kansas Lottery will continue working on marketing and on other locations potentially offering sports wagering, Durrell said. The state law allows bars and bowling alleys to offer sports wagering, but the rules need to be worked out with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, he said. It is clear that agreements will have to go through the casinos, he added. They also will continue to work with tribal casinos that want to offer sports wagering, he added.
Sporting Kansas City also will be allowed to offer sports wagering, under the Kansas law.
In other action, the Kansas Lottery Commission approved the transfer of ownership of the Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg, Kansas.
On another topic, Keith Kocher, the Kansas Lottery’s director of gaming facilities, reported casino revenues for August.
Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway reported total gaming revenues of $12.4 million for August, an increase from last year. It compares to total gaming revenues of $11.58 million in August 2021.
According to a written report to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission by Lydia Garvey, vice president and general manager of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, August admissions were down 5.5 percent compared to August 2021. Total gaming revenues, however, increased around 7 percent compared to last year. Slots revenue increased 5.4 percent and total games revenue, including poker, increased 25.4 percent, according to the report.