On Tuesday, DraftKings announced it had established a partnership to gain access in the Kansas sports betting market when it launches. DraftKings is partnering with BHCMC, a subsidiary of Butler National Corporation which owns and manages Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City, Kansas. The state has been close to passing legislation that would legalize sports betting, but it has not quite happened yet. However, DraftKings will be ready to roll when Kansas does legalize sports betting.
Current DraftKings Operations
DraftKings Sportsbook is live in 18 states with a framework in place to add more states such as Kansas in the near future. In addition to its state of the art sportsbook, DraftKings offers millions of daily fantasy sports contests and a unique new DraftKings Marketplace, which provides mainstream access for NFTs from top athletes and celebrities. Earlier this month, DraftKings opened a permanent location at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut, a newly legalized state.
Jeremy Elbaum, Senior Vice President of Business Development at DraftKings, spoke about the company’s goal to “expand [its] mobile sportsbook footprint to every state in the US” and his hope that Kansas legislators will “enact common sense legislation that will benefit the state and its constituents.” The deal with Boot Hill Casino & Resort does not mean DraftKings Sportsbook can go live yet, but it will likely have a license in the state once it does legalize sports betting.
Ongoing Legal Process in Kansas
After the United States Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Participation Act in 2018, Kansas attempted to be one of the first states to launch its sports betting market. Online and retail sports betting have bipartisan support in the state, but there have been ongoing disagreements about who will have control over sports betting. Lawmakers are also arguing about revenue sharing, growth, and other details, and attempted legislation has fallen apart in the process of being approved.
A recent Senate bill would see the four state-owned casinos possess significant market control, but the House wants to run sports betting development through Kansas Lottery retailers. Potential sportsbook operators such as DraftKings favor the Senate proposition as it would allow them to have licenses through partnerships with state-owned casinos like Boot Hill Casino & Resort. Sports betting will be addressed again in 2022 in Kansas, but the impasse between would-be stakeholders has to be resolved for significant progress to be made.
Connection to Missouri
One interesting wrinkle in Kansas’s sports betting legislation is the connection to Missouri as the two states share the Kansas City metro area. If one state passes a bill regarding sports betting, it will significantly motivate the other state to pass legislation to stop sports betting dollars from crossing over the state border. Missouri saw almost a dozen bills introduced in 2021, but the state remains divided on the prospect of video gaming terminals (VLTs) as it has for several years. VLTs and sportsbooks will be on the 2022 agenda in Missouri, and if the state can make progress, it would serve as an impetus to legal development in Kansas.