When Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill that allowed people in Kansas to wager legally at the four state-owned casinos and 50 other locations, as well as online, few could have predicted that one casino would be unhappy with the bill that was passed with support from both Republicans and Democrats.
First Bets Could Be Taken By September 2022
The bill that state officials passed allows Kansas residents to play at the casinos operating in the state and to place sports bets there. Under the new law, casino goers and sports bettors would be able to wager online, at the four state-owned casinos, or at the up to 50 other locations these four casinos open.
However, state officials still don’t know when punters would be able to start placing their bets. Jeff Morris, a spokesman for Penn National Gaming, expects that people in the state will be able to start placing legal wagers in time for the new NFL season, which starts on 8 September 2022.
He said that they would operate from the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City and would allow mobile gaming and wagering to Kansas residents pretty soon.
Fantasy sports league wagers are already legal in the state.
Horse Racing Machines or Slots?
But not all casino operators were happy with the new law. The Kansas Star Casino, operated by Boyd Gaming and located 15 miles south of Wichita, filed a lawsuit, arguing that the state is in breach of contract.
The dispute the casino has with the state is over a provision that allows the use of gambling machines at Wichita Greyhound Park. The new law allows 1,000 so-called historic horse racing machines to be operated at Wichita Greyhound Park. These machines replay past races, and the outcomes of those races determine what or how much the player wins.
However, Boyd Gaming and the Kansas Star Casino claim that these historic horse racing machines are almost identical to slot machines, and slot machines are not allowed at dog parks.
Stephen Durrell, Lottery Executive Director, didn’t know anything about the lawsuit, so he couldn’t respond. The Governor’s office, the Wichita Greyhound Park operator, and the racing commission didn’t comment on the matter either.
Luring the Kansas City Chiefs to Kansas
Kansas approves online gaming and sports betting four years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared the federal ban on sports betting and wagering to be unconstitutional. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 29 US states allow sports betting and wagering. In six other states, Native tribes are allowed to do the same.
One of the goals of the new gambling law is to attract the Kansas City Chiefs, the NFL team, to move from Kansas City, Missouri to Kansas City, Kansas. The state has decided that a large part of the revenue it collects from gambling will go to that end. It is estimated that up to US$5 million a year could be collected to be used to lure the 2020 NFL champions to change location.
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