Kansas Regulators Look to Fast Track Legal Sports Betting

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Kansas is one of the latest states to legalize sports betting within its borders. The proper legislation has been passed and signed into law. The next part of the process is creating the rules and regulations for the industry. Equally important is the approval and licensing process for sportsbook operators.

According to the bill that was passed to legalize sports betting, the launch date has been set as Jan. 1, 2023 or earlier. Given that June 1 is right around the corner, that is ambitious to say the least.

Case in point is the state of Ohio. Legal sports betting was signed into law in late December of 2021. The set date for launch was also Jan. 1, 2023. The Buckeye State should be able to meet that deadline but it also had a six month head start on the regulatory and licensing process.

Conventional wisdom dictates that this entire process usually takes longer than expected. There are any number of issues along the way that can derail even the best of plans.

The Kansas Lottery will be one governing body in charge o overseeing this process. As director, Stephen Durrell recently commented:

The bill doesn’t go into effect until July 1, but we’re not resting on our laurels. There are internal hopes that we can get things done in the near future but making sure it is effective and works is one of our premier goals. There are hurdles between here and there to get it done.

Stephen Durrell, director of KS Lottery

Todd Allen is the government affairs director at the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC). This is another state commission that will have a governing hand in the legal sports betting industry. He made note of Jan. 1 as a “must date” but also remained hopeful for an earlier launch.

The application process for a sportsbook license is expected to take around 90 days. Given that the window to apply does not officially open until Aug. 15, there is already downward pressure on an early start.

Background checks are one of the most time consuming aspects of the licensing process. It has already been estimated that these checks will not be complete until November. The standard public comment period on any posted rules and regulations must also be taken into consideration.

Multiple state agencies are involved in the regulatory process. Each one will also require a certain amount of time to review any set rules and regulations. This step must be completed before the regulations are finalized.

The level of cooperation between the Kansas Lottery and the KRGC will ultimately dictate just how smooth things go over the next six months. Casino gaming in Kansas is owned by the state. Gaming operators such as Penn National and Boyd Gaming own the physical casinos. However, Kansas owns all the gaming machines.

The casino gaming system works as a partnership between the gaming operators and the lottery. The lottery handles the day-to-day operations while the KRGC focuses on regulatory compliance. The current system in place does give Kansas regulators a built-in edge to expedite the process to launch sports betting.

As an added plus, all the major sportsbook operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars have already formed partnerships with in-state casinos.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US sports betting industry expert.