Kansas

Sports Betting in Kansas

Kansas has a similar gambling background as many of their Midwestern and Southwestern neighbors. There was plenty of gambling back in the 1800’s with the focal point being the many saloons and gambling establishments in ‘Dodge City’. These were dangerous places with outlaws, cowboys, rustlers and the other archetypes of the ‘Wild Wild West’. As the state and federal government began to get a handle on the chaos one of the casualties was gambling. Kansas gained statehood in the early 1860s and by the late 1800s every form of gambling had been eliminated. Even low stakes gambling on horse races at county fairs became outlawed and by the beginning of the 20th Century legal gambling in Kansas was a profound oxymoron.

This prohibition continued for nearly a century. The first steps toward a liberalized view toward gambling came in 1974 when Kansas Code created provisions for limited games of chance (eg: raffles and bingo) to benefit charity as well as a relaxed stance toward social games like poker. Players were subject to little more than a ‘slap on the wrist’ (most forms of illegal gambling are considered a Class B misdemeanor) though anyone organizing or profiting from illegal gambling faced felony charges.

In 1986, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution allowed the creation of a state lottery. The Kansas Lottery remains the most popular form of gambling in the state. The state lottery offers several draw games including the big multi-state networked jackpots including Powerball, Mega Millions and Lotto America. They also have an assortment of pulltab and scratch off games, Keno and what is essentially a ‘virtual horse racing’ game.

Later in 1986, parimutuel wagering on horse and dog racing became legal under the auspices of the Kansas State Racing and Gaming Commission. Neither form of racing fared well. In 2010, all parimutuel licenses were revoked. One facility (Anthony Downs) has been bulldozed with Eureka Downs now used as a training facility. The Woodlands Racecourse which previously offered greyhound and harness racing is still standing and there has been some effort to reopen the facility as recently as Spring 2018 though as of this writing nothing has happened.

In 1995, Kansas reached an agreement with four Native American tribes in the state to allow Class 3 gaming which includes ‘real’ RNG based slot machines, casino games and poker. There are five Native American casinos in Kansas with an additional five land based casinos. There are also several land based casinos in and around Kansas City on the Missouri side of the border.

Kansas has taken some preliminary steps toward offering sports betting under the auspices of the state lottery but has taken no specific action. Unfortunately, there are many in the state’s legislative body that are apparently more beholden to the NCAA and the professional sports lobby than to the will of their constituents.

Sports Betting in Kansas City

Both Kansas and Missouri have historically taken a dim view of gambling which left Kansas City ‘high and dry’ for years. There was virtually no gambling available to the city from the mid 1800’s to the late 1980’s though the options have increased dramatically since then.

Now Kansas City has even more choices due to it’s location right along the borders of Missouri and Kansas. In 1986, an amendment to the Kansas Constitution allowed the creation of a state lottery. The state lottery offers several draw games including the big multi-state networked jackpots including Powerball, Mega Millions and Lotto America. They also have an assortment of pulltab and scratch off games, Keno and what is essentially a ‘virtual horse racing’ game. Missouri began the ‘MOLottery’ the same year and today it offers a fairly pedestrian selection of games with the usual assortment of draws and instant scratch offs. Keno is also available and the lottery also allows the sale of pull tabs to ‘veteran and fraternal clubs’. There is no online betting allowed though players can set up an account to ‘track winnings’.

Later in 1986, parimutuel wagering on horse and dog racing became legal under the auspices of the Kansas State Racing and Gaming Commission. Neither form of racing fared well. In 2010, all parimutuel licenses were revoked. One facility (Anthony Downs) has been bulldozed with Eureka Downs now used as a training facility. The Woodlands Racecourse which previously offered greyhound and harness racing is still standing and there has been some effort to reopen the facility as recently as Spring 2018 though as of this writing nothing has happened. It’s basically the same deal on the Missouri side where state regulations provide for on-track parimutuel betting but there hasn’t been a horse track in the state for decades.

In 1995, Kansas reached an agreement with four Native American tribes in the state to allow Class 3 gaming which includes ‘real’ RNG based slot machines, casino games and poker. There are five Native American casinos in Kansas with an additional five land based casinos. There are also several land based casinos in and around Kansas City on the Missouri side of the border. These began life as ‘riverboat casinos’ but after some safety issues on the water everyone concern decided it would be better to leave them docked. There are approximately a dozen riverboat properties in the state with at least four serving the Kansas City area. It’s also a four hour drive into Iowa which allows Kansas City gamblers access to that state’s gaming market.

Kansas has taken some preliminary steps toward offering sports betting under the auspices of the state lottery but has taken no specific action. Unfortunately, there are many in the state’s legislative body that are apparently more beholden to the NCAA and the professional sports lobby than to the will of their constituents. It’s hard to tell where Missouri stands on this and much likely depends on how it develops in Kansas. New properties have been opened on the Kansas side of the border and should sports betting be added there it would be almost a necessity for Missouri to do something or watch a line of cars full of revenue cross over the border every weekend.

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