Kansas sports betting could come sooner than expected

Less than a week after the state’s lottery commissioner sounded a pessimistic note on the launch of sports betting in Kansas, a more positive message emerged last Friday. The state’s Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) unanimously approved regulations for the market, which have now been forwarded to the state’s Attorney General for approval. If this is granted quickly enough, there may be sports betting in Kansas in time for the NFL’s big kickoff in early September.

As recently as last week, the landscape for Kansan bettors was that they could expect something definitive by the end of the year or early 2023, but a lot remained to be ironed out before that could be announced. Evidently, the meeting of the KRGC last week managed to cover a lot of ground, advancing regulations which would initially be temporary but would be enough to permit legal sports betting in the state until more permanent ordnance can be drawn up.

The one remaining wrinkle to iron out before sports betting can go live in the state is the question of contracts for casino sportsbook providers, something which needs to be signed off by the lottery commissioner himself. That is considered to be achievable in the few weeks that now remain before the start of the football season. In the words of the KRGC, they have now completed all of the steps they need to take before sports betting can take place in the state.

Kansas initially voted on sports betting back in May, when both houses of the state congress agreed to the terms of a bill which would permit sports betting. It was signed with little delay by the state Governor, which then put matters into the hands of the KRGC. The comparative lack of movement in the three intervening months had led a lot of people to be pessimistic about a definitive launch for sports betting, but this pessimism has receded in the aftermath of the latest meeting.

When the Bill was initially passed, the beginning of the NFL season was given as a hopeful landmark date for when sports betting might be available. For some time that has looked like a fanciful idea, but it now looks as though it might be met although, as one Commissioner said anonymously, “Getting a contract agreed for something brand new in Kansas does take some time”. We’ll see in the next few weeks whether there’s any reason for such caution.

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