Pilot Heidi Kennedy
Head of Casino Operations
Head of Casino Operations
The state of Kansas recently passed legislation to legalize sports betting in the state. The new laws allow casinos to partner with large online sportsbooks to power their online operations, and Boot Hill Casino & Resort wasted no time, inking deals with DraftKings and Bally Bet.
Some positive legal gambling news! Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has officially signed SB 84 into law last week, officially legalizing sports betting in Kansas. The bill is friendly to both sportsbooks as well as bettors, and one of the key elements is the provision forcing the state to finalize regulations by January 1, 2023, and it is likely that books will begin taking bets before then, possibly by the time the NFL season begins. Kansas will be following the framework of other states who were able to get operations functioning quickly, and drawing on their experiences as they prepare for a quick ramp up.
The new legislation allows for the state’s existing casinos to partner with up to three online operators to power their online sports betting. Boot Hill Casino & Resort has fired the first salvo in what is sure to be a highly competitive market. They announced that they have entered into partnerships with DraftKings and Bally Bet to power their online sports betting via a press release on May 16th. In addition to online operations, the press release also stated that DraftKings will operate a retail sportsbook on the casino property, opening as early as this fall.
The announcement comes as a victory for Boot Hill, as working with two of the best-known names in the business will give them plenty of name recognition and high-level marketing behind their online sportsbook. DraftKings is nationally recognized as a leader in online sports betting sites, and Bally Sports Network has widespread recognition among Kansas sports fans as they are the official broadcast partner of the Royals and Cardinals.
Clark Stewart, CEO of Boot Hill’s parent company Butler National Corporation said of the new partnerships: “We worked diligently to find partners that would bring Kansans a seamless, safe and premium sports betting experience. We are ready to work with DraftKings and Bally’s to make sports wagering available in Kansas.” In addition, Stewart was optimistic about a quick timeline to get things rolling, saying “We are hopeful to try to bring mobile sports betting to Kansans by football season. Kansans should be proud of the cooperative efforts by Kansas Legislators, our Governor, government agencies and private businesses, like Butler National Corporation, to bring legalized sports betting to Kansas.”
The move counts as a big win for DraftKings and Bally’s as well, as competition for the initial 12 slots will be heavy as will competition among them once bets are able to be taken. The two companies are now assured of their spots and ability to get in on the ground floor of Kansas sports betting. DraftKings VP Government Affairs, Associate General Counsel Griffin Finan said “With the passage of mobile sports betting legislation in Kansas, DraftKings is excited for the opportunity to enter the state pending licensure and regulatory approvals. Together with Boot Hill Casino & Resort, we look forward to engaging with Kansans and providing them with a world-class sports betting experience.”
These partnership announcements are sure to be the first of many. Clearly every online sportsbook wants to secure one of the partnership opportunities available from Kansas casinos, and the big names will be looking to lock theirs up as soon as possible given the short ramp up time for books to begin taking bets. It seems likely due to the timing of this announcement that the companies had already been discussing the arrangement, and it is likely that other sportsbooks and Kansas casinos have been working on deals as well.
Kansas sports bettors will be able to take advantage of two top bookmakers in DraftKings and Bally Bet and will be anxiously awaiting the announcement that high-profile sportsbooks like FanDuel, BetMGM, and Caesars Sportsbook have entered into similar partnerships. The high level of competition and tax-friendly legislation should ensure that Kansas sports bettors are able to access the best books and receive some very attractive promotional offers as the companies fight for market share.