Kansas casinos launched their sportsbooks on Thursday at noon, drawing fans to place their bets at the state’s approved sites.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly was at Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas, in the morning for the ribbon-cutting. She also placed what was both the first legal sports wager in the state and the first bet for the Barstool Sportsbook at the casino. According to a press release from her office, she bet $15 on the Chiefs winning Super Bowl LVII. You’ll note that 15 is also the same number on Patrick Mahomes’ jersey.
KCTV5 has been live today and will be live throughout the day with the latest, as legal sports betting is established in Kansas. (See that video above.)
The apps are geofenced and require users to be in the state of Kansas for use.
Mike Day, the owner of McGuire’s Tavern in Overland Park, hopes that will allow patrons to enjoy games in a different way. And, maybe even attract a few from Missouri. He also said he might be tempted to place a bet.
“I think it’s going to give the NFL and the Chiefs and this place a big push,” Day said. “It’s a big deal and we’re looking forward to it.”
Many of the companies that operate betting apps will now also have in-person sites at casinos around the state. Hollywood Casino in KCK is offering a retail sportsbook through Barstool Sports. The Kansas Star Casino in Wichita has partnered with FanDuel. DraftKings will operate a betting area at the Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City.
Kevin Hennessy, a spokesperson for FanDuel, said the Kansas program allows fans to choose where and how they’ll bet.
“It’s a very communal attraction,” Hennesy said. “You’re not sitting at home on your phone alone. You’re interacting with friends via text chains or sitting at a bar.”
The apps allow the same kinds of bets as an in-person sportsbook. The apps typically provide additional content, such as stats, commentary and analysis.
Johnny Avello, Director of Race and Sportsbook Operations at DraftKings, said he expects some Kansas businesses to attract Missourians on game days. He said similar border markets had experienced the same kinds of trends. New Jersey, for instance, attracted New Yorkers after it legalized sports betting.
“With a mobile app in your pocket, you have the sportsbook with you regardless of where you are,” he said. “The bars have to be really excited about that because the patrons can actually come into the bar or restaurant, go get your hair cut, get a massage. Whatever you want to do, you can still make a wager from your phone.”
Day said ambassadors from some of the companies had already reached out to his bar about hosting special events aimed at promoting the platforms.
“We’re hosting them for the first three Chiefs games,” he said. “They’ll come in and help people learn to use the apps.”