Kansas Sports Betting Exceeds First Year Revenue Projections

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Aug 31, 2023 12:00 AM
Kansas sports betting revenue has exceeded first-year projections.

The start of sports betting in Kansas is officially a massive success.

Of course, anyone reading between the lines could always tell this was the case. All of the preliminary reports coming out of The Sunflower State pointed to Kansas sports betting exceeding initial expectations. From month-over-month growth to the lucrative Kansas sports betting returns for DraftKings and FanDuel to foot traffic increasing at retail gambling locations, all signs have pointed toward the first year of legal wagering going down as a monumental home run.

Still, with the one year anniversary of Kansas’ sports gambling debut on the horizon, the state has released data that turns this success into a matter of fact rather than educated speculation. So, how did The Wheat State fair during their first year of legal sports betting? And what should we expect looking ahead to both the short- and long-term future? Let’s get into it.

Kansas Sports Betting Revenue More Than Tripled Year 1 Forecasts

When sports betting first went live, the Kansas State Lottery initially projected they would earn $1.8 million in revenue over 12 months. To be clear, that’s the money they believed would go to the state after gambling operators paid out all their winning bets and received all of their promotional tax credits. As it turns out, though, Kansas annihilated these expectations—and then some. 

Cory Thorne, public information officer for the Kansas Lottery, announced the actual first-year numbers to the media. Here’s what they had to say, via Callie Holthaus of 13 WIBW in Topeka, Kansas: 

“The first year went really well. [In] July of last year, it officially became legal and we set out, I say ‘we,’ it was us, with KRGC and our casino partners and everything, put in a lot of work to get it ready to go by September. And then from September through July, our first fiscal year we did about $5.8 million overall and transferred to the state, which is higher than our original projections."

Technically, these numbers may not even be final. The official one year anniversary of Kansas sports betting will be September 1, 2023. That’s when pretty much all of the approved services went live in the state. Granted, the difference of a few weeks may not matter much. The state has reached a dormant part of their sports betting calendar. Residents may be investing in college football futures as well as 2023 NFL futures, but those wagers won’t pay out until later this year, after the seasons conclude.

Timing Played a Key Role in the Success of Kansas Sports Gambling Right Out of the Gate

A lot of planning went into the Kansas sports betting launch. While logistical procedures received the most attention from the outside, there was just as much focus on the timing of its debut behind the scenes.

“It was a really fun year to be a fan of sports in Kansas,” Thorne explained. “You had KU football and K-State football do really well. Oh, and then we have this team in Kansas City win a big championship or whatever and so, you know, we’ve had a lot of success in the area with sports, which I think motivated people to take part because it was fun to bet on teams you like.”

The “team in Kansas City” to which Thorne refers is, of course, the Kansas City Chiefs, who are fresh off a Super Bowl victory. Their success no doubt inflated interest in sports betting. Granted, the state likely didn’t make too much money from wagers on the Chiefs, since they won so many games. But bettors probably wound up exploring other competitions and events while gambling on Kansas City games and futures.

Going live in September was also just a smart move in a vacuum. This ensured revenue could be buoyed by a full season’s worth of betting on the college football and NFL seasons. So, even if the Chiefs, K-State and KU didn’t perform well, Kansas guaranteed residents could gamble during the peak of the national sports calendar.

Will Kansas Sports Betting Revenue Continue to Rise in Year 2?

Answering this question is complicated. On the one hand, Kansas sports gambling is still in its infancy. Year-over-year growth is expected early on. 

Then again, there are so many other variables to consider. What if the Chiefs or the state’s premier college football teams aren’t as good? Or what if the best online sportsbooks in the United States aren’t so aggressive with their deposit bonuses? We have seen these factors drive down sports betting revenue in other states every year.

The biggest reason to worry about a lack of growth, however, would be the legalization of sports betting in Missouri. Kansas currently generates a ton of business from residents of their neighbor, who don’t yet have the ability to place wagers in their own state. If and when Missouri sports betting receives the green light, we will see it knife into The Sunflower State’s profit margins.

Fortunately for Kansas, this doesn’t seem like an imminent issue. The soonest Missouri can legalize sports betting is early next year, and it can’t technically be rolled out until the end of 2024

That basically gives Kansas another year to capitalize on Missouri sports bettors. And that’s assuming The Show-Me State joins the sports gambling fold during the next round of legislative sessions. There’s a good chance they don’t make the transition for another couple of years, if not longer. The longer it takes, the better it’ll be for the state of Kansas. 

Regardless, for the time being, we would expect The Wheat State’s sports betting revenue to keep climbing through at least next year. 

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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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