Kansas Online Sports Betting is Reportedly Hurting Casino Business

Kansas Online Sports Betting is Reportedly Hurting Casino Business

Since rolling out on September 1, 2022, sports betting in Kansas has been considered a rousing success. Not only did the first phase of the implementation go off with a hitch, but Kansas sports betting is already expected to annihilate revenue projections for its first year. This windfall has been buoyed specifically by Kansas online sports betting, which is apparently far more popular than the state initially hoped.

As it turns out, though, this could be bad news for Kansas tribal casinos.

To be absolutely certain, officials aren't painting a long-term picture of gloom and doom for the gaming establishments that still rely on foot traffic. But it has become very clear early on for some of the casinos that their business model will need to shift in the coming years—lest they entirely perish. 

On top of that, it isn't only the Kansas casinos that are being impacted by Kansas online sports betting.

Kansas Online Sports Betting is a Hit

Though most assumed Kansas online sports betting would thrive, a perfect storm of factors have contributed to it obliterating initial expectations and goals.

Gaming officials have already noted they underestimated state-wide interest in the Kansas City Chiefs. The franchise boasts both a superstar quarterback in Patrick Mahomes and begins the 2022 NFL season as a Super Bowl contender. Through the first four weeks of the NFL schedule, early reports have bets on the Chiefs within the state already totaling in the eight-figure range.

Kansas also didn't properly understand how much widespread legalization would drum up business. Many other states have elected to allow only on-site betting or have meticulously limited the number of gaming licenses they give out. But Kansas has already opened their doors to bigwigs such as FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, Caesars and many more.

Given the far-reaching impact and ubiquitous advertising presence of each, it's no wonder Kansas sports betting revenue is already through the roof.

Kansas Sports Betting Following a United States-Wide Trend

Another thing that has contributed to the better-than-expected returns for Kansas online sports betting: an increasingly digital business model.

Entering the second half of 2022, it was estimated that more than 80 percent of all sports betting takes place online. That's a huge portion of what's a nearly trillion-dollar-a-year-business in the United States.

Of course, this number can vary by area. States that only legalized on-site gaming will see a larger percentage of their bets taking place in-person. But Kansas isn't in that boat. They prioritized the legalization of online sports betting in 2022 so that they could maximize their tax windfall. And you can't really blame them.

Indeed, sticking with casino sports betting alone would drive more people to on-site wagering. But online sports betting is too accessible elsewhere to be completely prevented in any one state. Take Missouri for example. Tens of thousands of residents from Kansas' neighboring state have already attempted to place online bets. What's more some of them have worked, because geo-tracking data gives a certain cushion to your radius. If you live in Missouri but close enough to the Kansas border, you can process a bet even though it's not technically legal in your state.

Failing that, there's also the most popular workaround—one that has aided many bettors since before the United States changed their gambling policy. We're of course talking about the off-shore sites that appear in our reviews of the top online sportsbooks. Many of them will allow anyone in the United States to set up an account and immediately begin wagering.

Some Casinos Hurting Due to the Kansas Online Sports Betting Boom

With all of this in mind, certain casinos in Kansas are hurting. And so are select ones in Missouri. Fortunately, not every casino in Kansas is slumping. Some have both obtained the necessary sports betting license and partnered with one of the corporate sportsbooks to get a cut of the online presence. Some smaller casino operations, however, do not find themselves in the same situation. A handful of places still don't have a sports betting license, and a few that do have not expanded into the online sector on their own or with a bigger-name partner.

At the risk of sounding blunt: That needs to change. Casinos can no longer bank on people visiting to partake in table games and slots. Heck, that business model was arguably already on life support after the coronavirus pandemic. Casinos have since been trying to conjure up different ways of drawing in foot traffic and restoring business.

Opening sportsbooks has proven to be an effective safeguard. It represents another on-site gaming option, which increases the mass appeal to potential customers, but it also allows casinos to drum up business without actually relying on foot traffic. 

Without conforming to this model, casinos will likely fail. We're not talking about just those without sports betting licenses, either. They are at the biggest risk, yet even the tribes that have sports betting but didn't partner with an online operator or set up one of their own will struggle to remain afloat for long. Too much of the sports betting business is now taking place online for that to fly. And Kansas casinos are starting to take note.

Additional tribes are in the process of obtaining sports betting licenses, and officials expect all of them to seek out partnerships with retail sportsbooks. That's not just a good move. Given the success of Kansas online sports betting, it's the only move.

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your sports betting needs:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan is a sports betting writer who can tackle any topic from presidential elections to changes in the sports betting legislation federally and on the state level. He also writes picks for NFL.