Kansas Sports Betting Official Debuts in Prairie Brand Casino and Resorts

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jan 4, 2024 07:00 PM
Kansas Sports Betting Official Debuts in Prairie Brand Casino and Resorts

For the first time since its launch in September 2022, Kansas sports betting will be offered at a local casino.

After a rather long wait, Prairie Band Casino and Resorts officially opened on Thursday, January 4, 2024. Their on-site sportsbook launch comes nearly two years after sports betting in Kansas went live and less than one year after the casino received approval to become a sports gambling provider. 

The opening of the Prairie Band sportsbook isn’t technically groundbreaking. Kansas residents have enjoyed access to other retail locations and were also able to place bets with some of the top online sportsbooks in the United States. At the same time, this Prairie Band launch is actually a huge deal. They are not a corporation unveiling a new retail location. They are a tribal-operated casino, making them the exact type of entity legalized Kansas sports betting is supposed to benefit.

So, what does this sportsbook opening mean to the Prairie Band? How about other tribal casinos? And how will it impact the overall Kansas sports betting market in the months and years to come? Let’s dig into all the pertinent details of The Sunflower State’s latest sports gambling development.

Kansas Sports Betting at Prairie Band Casino Needed State Amendment

In most states, the legalization of sports betting and the license for tribal casinos to provide it go hand-in-hand. That wasn’t the case for Prairie Band Casino and Resorts. As Callie Holthaus details for WBIW 13 in Kansas, this launch required an amendment to the state’s previous gaming compact:

“In 2022 The legalization of sports betting in Kansas prompted months of negotiations between the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe, the US Department of the Interior, and the state. ‘I think when the state first went with sports betting tribes weren’t really considered in that and then we had to go back and amend the law to allow us to amend our compact with a state,’ explains Zeke Rupnick, chairperson for the Prairie Band Potawatomi nation

Governor Laura Kelly stood alongside the tribe as they pushed the amendment, which ultimately passed in 2023. ‘So I want to thank, you know, the governor, all her staff, and of course all the state legislators that worked really hard to make sure that we could amend our compact to be able to allow this amenity,” says Rupnick. “That was one of the things that we asked for was to allow tribes to be on the same playing field as every other casino in the state of Kansas.”

This launch is no doubt a massive win for the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe. But it’s also a harbinger of how unique the structure legal Kansas sports betting remains. Most states have often approved retail sports betting primarily to drive revenue for the state and local tribes, who tend to have gaming exclusivity prior to any constitutional amendments.

Kansas effectively went the opposite route in an attempt to capitalize on the United States’ online sports betting boom.

Will More Tribal Casinos Receive Kansas Sports Betting Licenses in the Future?

The arrival of Kansas sports betting at Prairie Band Casino and Resorts begets an obvious question: Will more tribal operators receive licenses moving forward? There are five other tribally run casinos in The Sunflower State. Most, if not all, of them will surely want to enter the mix.

At present, it isn’t officially clear if or when other casinos will have the chance to join the Prairie Band. But the expectation is that this opening will be the first of many dominoes to fall. And among those dominoes will be the implementation of online operations. From Holthaus’ dispatch:

“Prairie Band Casino and Resort is now the first tribal casino in Kansas to offer sports wagering but Rupnick says this is just the start. ‘Right now, this space, what we have here is just the beginning portion of that hopefully,’ he says. ‘Once a couple of cases are decided, maybe we could go with a mobile app, but this is going to be our first initial setup today.’”

Clearly, the state may look at their current gaming compacts with other casinos before deciding whether tribes should enter the online marketplace. But the mobile sports betting issue is nothing if not critical to casinos that may be granted licenses.

Will Tribal Casinos be Able to Compete with Online Sportsbooks?

Corporate sportsbooks such as DraftKings and FanDuel currently have a stranglehold on the Kansas market share. And as we all know by now, online sports betting in the USA continues to be on the rise. The expectation is that well over 80 percent of all sports bets placed in the United States last year will have been processed by a mobile sportsbook.

To that end, it’s impossible to know how much additional revenue Prairie Band Casino can hope to generate with their on-site-only sportsbook. That’s not to say this is a bad thing. A retail-only structure is of course limiting, but it’s also better than not having the ability to offer Kansas sports betting at all. The Prairie Band were already doing business without any sports gambling services. This is, at worst, another tool in their belt.

We also cannot discount how much the Prairie Band will benefit from the absence of sports betting in Missouri. Residents of the neighboring Show-Me State continue to flock into Kansas to place wagers they aren’t allowed to submit in their own home. The Prairie Band location offers them yet another option to explore. 

That bodes especially well for the casino in the short term. The Kansas City Chiefs are Missouri’s NFL team of choice. They won the Super Bowl last year. They’re headed back to the postseason now. Betting on the NFL playoffs is about to reach a fever pitch. And the Prairie Band Casino and Resorts sportsbook launched just in time to capitalize on all of it.

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Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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