Gov. Kelly, Kansans made the 1st wagers as a sports betting launch

Kansas City, Kan. – Legal sports betting is now live in Kansas and the first in-person wagers took place Thursday at Hollywood Casino as Kansas Speedway.

The gambling app is also now active, and the catch is that your cell phone must be within the borders of the Sunflower State.

Thursday was the culmination of late-session moves by the Kansas Legislature, sending casinos into action to capitalize on the legalization of sports wagering.

Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway opens a Barstool sportsbook in-person during the day. Legalization happened so quickly that the management insisted that the area was a temporary set-up. They have big expansion plans starting in the fall.

Still, they have 30 betting kiosks, five betting windows, and tons of screens and odds boards.

After the ribbon cutting, the sportsbook employees came in to take wagers for the first time. At the front of the line was Rob Crosswade who said he wanted to be there for the memory.

“Me and my dad came down, and we are ready to place our first bet. The Jayhawks are going back-to-back this year, and the Chiefs will win it, too,” Crosswade said.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly placed the first bet of the day – put $15 on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl.

“Every day, though, I hear from Kansans across the country who tell me they’re literally counting the hours until they can finally legally bet on sports,” Kelly said.

Legalization comes at a major moment: the start of the NFL season and college football.

Casino management said earlier bets on those games will either happen illegally online or in another state.

“Kansas can now compete on a level playing field with the neighboring states of Colorado and Iowa while also offering products that are not available in Missouri,” said Lydia Mason-Garvey, vice president and general manager for Penn National Gaming and Hollywood Casino.

“Billions of dollars of investment. Thousands of jobs. And it’s all about compromise and cooperation,” said Pat Warren, president of Kansas Speedway.

“I’m glad we can get here, and I’m glad we can get here before Missouri,” Kelly said.

As for revenue, the state will take a flat 10% cut of all bets. It is for online or in-person bets.

Casino management hopes sportsbook people are busy with people from both sides of the state line – while some people in these first moments say that the bet of the day is also a souvenir.

If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling problems, help is available.
Find resources from Kansas Behavioral Health Services, Kansas Gambling Helpor call to National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700.

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