Kansas Sports Betting Continues to Exceed Expectations in 2023

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Apr 21, 2023 12:00 AM
Kansas sports betting turned in another banner month during the March Madness tournament.

The returns for sports betting in Kansas have been overwhelmingly positive since it was rolled out. With the exception of February, every month has basically ended with a record-breaking amount of wagers legally placed inside the state. And as the latest reports show, March was no different.

For some, this won't come as a shock. Nor will it be seen as a big deal. Rest assured, though, the continued ascent of Kansas sports betting is incredibly significant. 

Allow us to explain why.

Kansas Sports Betting Tax Revenue Nearly Tops $1 Million

February was not a banner month for Kansas sports betting revenue. Bookmakers reported minimal profits after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl.

That...is not the least bit concerning. It actually made sense. While the Chiefs play in Missouri, they remain a next-door neighbor for Kansas. The vast majority of Kansas residents who count themselves as football fans root for the Chiefs. As such, most of the Super Bowl bets Kansas sportsbooks accepted were on Kansas City to win. Not only did the Chiefs win, but they also covered the point spread. The end result? Many sportsbooks paid out more in winning wagers than they accepted in the first place.

Officials were somewhat worried that Kansas could see a repeat of this trend in March. As it turns out, the state ended up being fine. As the folks over at KSNT.com in Kansas wrote: "According to Lottery officials, in March, net revenues from sports betting were a little over $9.11 million. The state gets a 10% cut, bringing in $911,159. That’s a drastic change from February when the state’s cut was only $1,134."

Drastic change indeed. But what accounts for the difference?

March Madness Betting was a Boon for Kansas Sports Betting Revenue

Betting on March Madness is essentially a national pastime throughout the United States. But it's a particularly avid affair in Kansas, which is home to a number of Division I college basketball programs. Chief among them: The Kansas Jayhawks, who are almost always mentioned as a possible national championship contender.

And yet, while the University of Kansas drives interest in March Madness betting, they threatened to derail it early on this year. Unlike betting on the Super Bowl, March Madness wagering incites many different types of bets. With so many different schools to choose from, you don't have to worry about a state like Kansas over-investing in their hometown squad.

Early elimination is the bigger obstacle. March Madness betting for single games and futures theoretically won't be nearly as popular if Kansas is sent home at the beginning of the tournament. And, well, that's just what happened this year. The Jayhawks were eliminated in the second round. That left Kansas sportsbooks concerned heading into the rest of the tournament. There's no other big-time sports betting draw in the month of March. Could the Jayhawks' earlier-than-expected exit torpedo sports betting revenue?

Apparently not. As KMBC's Peyton Headlee reported, sportsbooks in Kansas were filled to capacity throughout the entire March Madness tournament—even after the Jayhawks were sent packing. It turns out people were incredibly interested in finding somewhere to watch and bet on the remaining games.

"Hollywood Casino [was] fully booked—all of its seats [were] reserved," Headlee wrote. "KU didn't make it to the Kansas City region this year, too, so [the crowd ended up being] crazy," added Hollywood Casino sportsbook manager Tanner Rome. "They [had] somewhere to watch the game."

How Much Money will Kansas Sports Betting Net for the State in the First Year of Legalization?

Sports betting in Kansas debuted on September 1, as part of a soft rollout at select casinos. Residents are also able to create accounts and bet with many of the top reviewed online sportsbooks. In the six months since, Kansas has raked in around $2.7 million from taxes assessed to bookmakers. That's higher than most projections for Year 1. The Kansas sports betting handle—which is the total amount of money spent on sports gambling in the state—has already surpassed $1.1 billion. The debut of gambling has more than exceeded initial expectations.

Still, the early returns might actually be overly modest. At the current rate, Kansas will finish with around $5.2 million in additional revenue during the first year of legal sports betting. But February's minimal revenue because of the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory represses those projections. What's more, betting trends throughout the state remain on the rise. Using the first six months as a placeholder for the next six likely underestimates how much money Kansas stands to make.

The exact discrepancy is impossible to know. It likely isn't massive. Kansas isn't about to spit out over $10 million in total revenue for the year or anything.

At the same time, consider all the hallmark sporting events still to come between now and September 1. Betting on the NBA playoffs and the NHL playoffs is already taking place. The MLB season is already in full swing and will only become more of a draw over the summer. Golf and Tennis are entering the primetime part of their schedules. NASCAR is a mega popular sport in the midwest and beginning to pick up. 

This is all to say: Kansas might be on track to clear $5.2 million in sports betting revenue during Year 1. But don't be surprised if they land closer to $8 million or more when all is said and done.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan first began writing about sports back in 2011. At the time, his expertise lied in the NBA and NFL. More than one decade, that remains the case. But he's also expanded his catalog to include extensive knowledge and analysis on the NHL, MLB, tennis, NASCAR, college ba...

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