Kansas Governor Laura Kelly places state's first legal sports wager

September 2, 2022


Kansas Democratic Governor Laura Kelly visited the Hollywood Casino in Kansas City on Thursday to kick off legal sports betting in the Sunflower state. She made the state's first legal sports wager when she bet $15 on the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl LVII.

The $15 wager was made in honor of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' jersey number, according to Kansas City Star reporter Aarón Torres, the odds on the wager were 10-1.

“Every day I hear from Kansans across the state who are eager to finally place legal wagers on sports,” Governor said. “I’m glad we were able to move quickly to get this bipartisan effort done in time for football season. ”

“Now, casinos, restaurants, and other venues will have another way to attract Kansans to their establishments—creating jobs and driving economic growth. And I’m willing to bet on that. Go Chiefs!” she added.

“We are so grateful for the leadership of Governor Kelly and the legislature to finally get legalized sports wagering over the goal line this year,” said Lydia Garvey, Vice President and General Manager of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.

“We have been waiting anxiously for this day to arrive, and I’m confident many of our customers will follow her lead in betting on Kansas City to emerge as champions once again.”

While legal sports betting will not be available in Kansas until Thursday, September 8, four casinos have signed contracts with the state to provide sports wagering through independent platforms.

The four casinos are Boot Hill Casino & Resort, Ford County near Dodge City, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, KS, and Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel in Pittsburg.

Kelly legalized sports betting

Kelly signed sports betting legislation Senate Bill 84 in May, which was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature with bipartisan support. According to the law, each state-owned casino may provide in-person sportsbooks and mobile sports betting on up to three platforms or applications.

“Legalizing sports betting is a common-sense solution that keeps Kansans’ money in Kansas and drives business to sporting events, casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues,” Governor said.

SB 84 allows sports betting in places like restaurants and nonprofit fraternal or veterans organizations. SB 84 safeguards tribal sovereignty by enabling for the negotiation of a new or existing sports wagering gaming compact.

Tribal casinos are still working together to align sports betting contracts with Kansas. According to the governor's office, these casinos will be permitted to open as soon as they are ready.

Kansas November election

Kelly's supporters are portraying sports betting as a matter of fun and freedom that could generate millions of dollars in revenue for the state each year.

“Sports are fun,” said the state representative. Stephanie Clayton. “People need to have a good time, they just want to have a good time.”

Kelly's supporters also argue that betting is something Kelly can brag about ahead of her November 8 election against Republican state Attorney General Derek Schmidt.

However, both Democrats and Republicans appear skeptical that sports betting will play a significant role in the governor's race. Voters are far more likely to vote on more important issues such as jobs, inflation, and the economy.

Kelly is the only Democrat running for reelection in a state that supported former President Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Over the last several decades, Republicans and Democrats have alternated control of the Kansas state legislature.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams is a sports gambling expert. He's been writing in the sports betting and DFS industry for over a decade. He specializes in MLB and NBA, along with College Basketball and College Football.