Kansas Sports Betting Handle Remains on an Upward Climb

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 12, 2024 12:00 AM
The Kansas sports betting handle in 2024 continues to significantly outpace the state's numbers from the same periods last year.

After launching in September 2022, Kansas sports betting has now been live for almost two years. And while the volume of wagers being placed could technically start to level off following such an extensive period, the Sunflower State remains a growth market.

Look no further than the most recent handle reports for sports betting in Kansas. The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission recently released results for the month of April 2024, and the returns were, quite frankly, massive. 

“Total market revenue in Kansas increased 13.0 percent to $10.4 million,” iGaming Business’ Robert Fletcher wrote. “Not only was revenue up year-on-year, it was also 46.5 percent ahead of $7.1 million in March this year. Online betting accounted for $10.3 million of all revenue, with retail’s share at just $79,989. “In terms of spending, [the] total handle for Kansas in April hit $192.1 million. This is 44.4 percent more than last year but behind March’s state-wide handle of $252.9 million. Players spent $185.9 million betting online during the month, with a further $6.2 million wagered at retail sportsbooks.”

Both March and April proved to be big months for the Kansas sports betting market. What’s more, they came on the heels of a few months in which the Sunflower State sports betting handle kept falling.

This ebb and flow can make it difficult to interpret and evaluate sports gambling in Kansas. However, when you’re seeing monstrous year-over-year increases in any given month after launching so long ago, it’s generally a positive indicator for in-market popularity. 

The Biggest Factors Driving Kansas Sports Betting Results

Sports betting handles are not an exact science. There is a natural push and pull to them. Certain months will generally be more lucrative than others, depending on the sports calendar. But there will always be wild year-to-year and month-to-month swings. 

These turbulent margins go beyond annual events and competitions in the calendar. The Kansas sports betting revenue is also contingent upon where events take place and who's participating in them.

For instance, betting on college basketball in Kansas during March and April will always be more popular when the Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats and Wichita State Shockers all make the March Madness tournament. Remove any of them from the equation, and neither March nor April will profile as lucrative months for the Sunflower State betting handle.

This same logic applies to betting on college football. Even betting on the NFL is significantly impacted. Though Kansas does not have an in-state team, the Kansas City Chiefs are right next door, in MIssouri. And you better believe betting on the Super Bowl has been more popular over the past two years, because the Chiefs made it to the big game each time.

Speaking of which, this leads us to another huge factor: The absence of sports betting in Missouri. A petition that would put a Missouri sports betting bill on the November ballot is pending, but as of now, sports gambling in the Show-Me State remains illegal. 

As a result, Missourians routinely flock to bet on sports in Kansas. We’re not speculating here, either. While an exact dollar amount cannot be assigned to how much Kansas sports betting revenue originates from Missouri, it’s a proven fact that the Show-Me State’s gaming laws have provided a bump in activity for the Sunflower State.

Will Sports Gambling Activity Ever Level Off in Kansas?

This is an interesting question with a complicated series of answers. In a nutshell, though, the answer is yes, the Kansas sports betting handle should eventually stabilize. Fluctuations are unavoidable, particularly year-to-year. But there may come a time where 44 percent increases aren’t the norm.

Two things come into play here. Firstly and perhaps most pressingly, the legalization of sports betting in Missouri would assuredly eat into Kansas’ total action. Residents from the Show-Me State won’t have to venture outside their own market to bet on sports if the current gambling initiative proves successful.

Beyond that, online sports betting in the United States will not be a growth industry forever. Even if the novelty of betting on sports in the USA doesn’t wear off, there is a finite number of prospective customers. Account creations will be through the roof now, since legalized sports betting remains relatively new. But it’s increasingly becoming the norm. Thirty-eight of 50 states now offer some form of legal sports betting.

The rise of streaming services in the United States might be a good analog for sports betting. Companies like NetFlix, Hulu, Peacock, etc. have needed to increase prices as their subscription growth has leveled off if not declined. Online sportsbooks in the USA are a different beast, because they're not subscription based. Customers can wind up spending much more month-over-month, which gives them a different type of revenue ceiling. But sportsbooks in Kansas and across the USA could eventually see a drop-off in account creations and usage as the practice ages even beyond normal.

None of which is a red flag for Kansas—or any other state. Betting-handle swings over the short and long terms are part and parcel of the business. For now, Kansas sports betting remains a growth market. In all likelihood, that’s not going to change anytime soon. Not even if Missouri legalizes sports betting in 2024 or 2026

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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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