WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Many people are eying the start of the NFL football season as when they wanted to see sports betting open – with what will be a soft launch.
On Friday, the Kansas Lottery said it is a possibility, but caution people should view it as a sure bet, and the goal right now for them is getting this right.
“It is moving. It’s moving forward, but the biggest thing for us and everyone is we want the product to be functional, secure and safe to use. We obviously don’t want it to launch and then go down,” said Kansas Lottery Public Information Officer Cory Thone.
Kansas is nearing some of the first deadlines set out in the law creating sports betting in the state, that went into effect earlier this month.
By August 1, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) needs to have a process in place to complete background investigations on sportsbook platforms, and those investigations are to start by the middle of the month.
KRGC is also drafting regulations to oversee sports betting, and its board is expected to take them up next month.
Then on September 1, the Kansas Lottery is to create the process to approve sportsbook platforms.
The four state-owned casinos have already announced partnerships with sportsbook platforms that would allow for retail and mobile sports betting in Kansas.
“We trust them to make their decisions for their business, and I know that we have to approve it, but we trust them and trust what they’re doing, and that’s the reason that they’re there. Seeing that they’re making those strides is fine because it makes it known they’re ready. Everyone is getting ready,” said Thone.
Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City said this is something they’ve worked on for some time and already had some relationships with sportsbook platforms. They already have announced partnerships with two platforms and are looking at a third.
“Something the citizens have asked for some time. I know we have been working on legislation I feel like for the last three to five years,” said Ryan Deutsch, assistant general manager for Boot Hill Casino and Resort.
Boot Hill said it plans to open up temporary kiosks for sports betting this fall, but will open up a full-scale sportsbook later this year.
The lead writer for Bet Kansas, Christopher Boan, is watching the process and said all eyes are on Kansas with it being the latest state to authorize sports betting and likely the only one to launch this fall.
He said Kansas is expected to benefit from the lack of sports betting in neighboring states. An effort in Missouri failed this year.
“Kansas pretty much has a monopoly has a Midwest, so Iowa has an existing market, Colorado has mobile sports betting, but Kansas is in a unique position to really dominate,” said Boan.
Earlier this week, Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway announced plans to have a temporary sportsbook open in time for the NASCAR race there on September 11.
The Kansas law on sports betting gives the state until the start of next year to fully open sports betting.
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