Another Tribe Has Been Approved to Offer Kansas Online Sports Betting

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Jun 7, 2023 08:00 PM
Another Tribe Has Been Approved to Offer Kansas Online Sports Betting

The availability of online sports betting in Kansas may be on the verge of expansion. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has officially received approval from the state to join the Kansas online sports betting ranks.

This move is still in the fledgling stages. The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation has not even outlined how they would plan to implement their revised gaming rights. However, if and when they open up online operations, it should make sports gambling noticeably more accessible throughout the state.

Emphasis must be placed on should. The exact terms of this amended gaming compact between the state and tribe must still be hammered out. And apparently, as things stand, this clarification may be inextricably tied to the ongoing litigation over sports betting in Florida.

Confused? Curious? Both? We're right there with you. Let's parse the details of the latest Kansas online sports betting news for some answers.

State Legislature "Overwhelmingly" Approved Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation for Kansas Online Sports Betting

Let's begin with the decision to approve another online sports betting license. Though the green light for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation was always on the table, it wasn't necessarily a given. And yet, when Kansas' legislature voted on the matter, the decision was almost unanimous.

Andrew Bahl of The Topeka Capital-Journal explained how the approval process went while providing more background details for us to consider:

"[Kansas] legalized sports betting last year, with gamblers allowed to start wagering on games in September, shortly before the beginning of the National Football League season. The state's four federally recognized tribes were authorized to negotiate with Gov. Laura Kelly's administration to offer sports betting and a bill earlier this year paved the way for the state to work out a deal to amend the Prairie Band's gaming compact with the state. The Legislature last month voted overwhelmingly to approve the changes to the compact, which would allow the Prairie Band to offer app-based sports betting, provided the web server hosting the platform is contained on tribal land."

That last tidbit isn't just important. It's potentially groundbreaking. The revised gaming compact for Prairie Band essentially stipulates they can offer online sports betting to anyone in Kansas rather than just on tribal land. These terms effectively treat web servers as tribal land. If you are gambling with the casino's sports betting app, you are accessing a server on their property. By extension, this means you're placing wagers on tribal land.

Still, the language is open to interpretation. And there's a chance it could be contested—which is exactly what's currently happening in Florida.

Will Prairie Band's Online Sports Betting Compact Follow in the Footsteps of Florida?

We promise we're not connecting the dots on our own here. This is a very real concern among key stakeholders in Kansas, as Bahl noted in his piece for The Topeka Capital-Journal. Kansas Democratic Senator Tom Holland also admits that the entire process "is complicated stuff." He's not kidding.

The Seminole Tribe and the state of Florida went a similar route with their revised gaming compact in 2021. Ron DeSantis, The Sunshine State's governor, granted them sports betting exclusivity in exchange for a lucrative financial commitment. Their agreement stated that all wagers must be placed on tribal land, suggesting only in-person transactions were allowed.

Soon after they started offering legal sports betting, though, the Seminole Tribe also rolled out a mobile gambling app that allowed anyone inside the state of Florida to place bets. They argued that the mobile server was on their land and, thus, an extension of their property.

This logic didn't hold up. The state and Seminole Tribe were sued by West Flagler Associates, a racing and track operator based out of Florida. They counter-argued that the sports betting app violated the gaming compact. A District Court judge ruled in their favor and repealed Florida sports betting prior to the end of 2021. The matter has been tied up in litigation ever since. It currently sits in the U.S. Court of Appeals awaiting a decision, and there's a chance it gets elevated to the Supreme Court.

This could explain why Prairie Band has not delivered a blueprint for their own online sports betting rollout. They may be holding out hope that a resolution is reached in the Florida sports betting battle. That would create a precedent around which they can build their own gambling operations.

What's the Potential Impact of the Florida Case on Kansas Online Sports Betting?

The outcome of the Florida sports betting battle will ultimately shape how much agency the Prairie Band (and other tribes) have when it comes to online gambling operations.

If the District Court's ruling is overturned, it would mean the Prairie Band can offer online sports betting to everyone in Kansas, not just those within a certain geographical range. This would not only be good for business, but some lawmakers believe it would deter offshore wagering. Residents in Kansas will be forced to explore alternatives if they have to be on-site to submit transactions and don't live within driving distance of a casino. 

That could entail visiting sportsbooks in other states. It could also entail using a reputable offshore site. The latter option is much simpler. There are plenty of sites from our reviews of the best online sportsbooks that allow almost anyone in the United States to set up an account.

Tribes and certain Kansas lawmakers prefer to avoid this dilemma. Allowing universal access to mobile sports betting servers increases the potential for profits. But if the Prairie Band just starts offering statewide services, they run the risk of a lawsuit just like the Seminole Tribe in Florida.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can find one that works for all of your sports betting needs: 

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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