What an Early Kansas Sports Betting Launch Means for Bettors and Sportsbooks

What an Early Kansas Sports Betting Launch Means for Bettors and Sportsbooks article feature image

Stephen Spillman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas Jayhawks forward Dedric Lawson

When online Kansas sports betting goes live Thursday, it'll be one of the fastest states to get betting up and running after legalizing it.

Despite its low population – just 35th out of all 50 states – and lack of professional sports teams – one MLS club – Kansas is getting decent attention from sportsbooks.

Six of the up to 12 online operators allowed under Kansas law – signed by Gov. Laura Kelly in May – will start taking bets on Sept. 1, and three more will join a week later

Easy Entry = Better Odds

Kansas has a strong relationship with the gaming industry, as it owns each of the four casinos that online sportsbooks must contract with. Its fees and 10% tax on bets are low compared to other legal states.

That relationship helped Kansas take just 112 days from the governor's signature to launch sports betting. For context, Marylanders legalized sports betting more than 660 days ago, and online betting's still at least four months away.

Cheap, good relationships and multiple operators should mean a better market for bettors.

Jurisdictions such as Washington, D.C., where there's only one betting app, or New York, which taxes more than 50%, typically see higher prices and worse lines. Those jurisdictions' $13 to win $10 bets should be closer to $10 to win $10 in Kansas.

Promo Spending Gameplan

Kansas is the first state to launch online betting since New York and Louisiana went live in January.

In New York gaming companies racked up record marketing bills from juicy signup promos. With no launches since, their spending's cooled off as of late.

But with Ohio, Massachusetts and possibly Maryland set to launch later this year, betting apps will have to start spending again.

Kansas is too small for the large-scale promos offered early on in New York, but how cost-effective sportsbooks can be now after heralding marketing cuts, will be a good test case for what they're able to do with upcoming larger markets.

Kansas' pre-registration offers seem to be in line with other states', so far. Keep a close watch out for football promos once the sports calendar fills up and more sportsbooks enter the market.

Missouri Market

Missouri and Kansas legislators openly discussed the need to beat each other on sports betting in their past sessions, as both appeared on parallel tracks to legalize the industry.

How well Kansas does with sports betting will inevitably impact how soon Missouri legalizes it, especially if geolocation tracking data indicates a lot of betting activity along the Missouri/Kansas border. That's huge for sportsbooks since Missouri's much larger with more entities looking for a seat at the table.

Missouri is home to five major professional sports teams, and its many casinos are commercially owned. With more powerful groups eyeing a slice of betting profit, Missouri's latest bill included higher tax rates and fees than Kansas'.

Kansas is projected to generate $10 million a year from $1.8 billion in handle (dollars bet). If it can beat that, it should add more pressure on Missouri.

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