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Gambling Laws of Kansas Legal State of Gambling

In recent years, the gambling legislative landscape in Kansas has undergone significant transformations, notably marked by the legalization of sports betting while online casinos remain prohibited within the state. Following the passage of a bill in the Senate in 2021, Kansas saw the emergence of six online sportsbooks, including prominent platforms like FanDuel, Caesars, BetMGM, and DraftKings, which began operations in September 2022. The legislative process leading to this expansion involved the integration of language from HB 2470 into SB 84, with both chambers collaboratively ironing out differences in a conference committee. Despite the absence of regulated online casinos, residents have accessed offshore platforms for casino gaming, providing diverse gaming options and attractive bonuses. Notably, daily fantasy sports contests have been legal and regulated in Kansas since 2015, following the passage of HB 2155, signed into law by then-Gov. Sam Brownback. This legislation not only sanctioned daily fantasy sports but also broadened the scope of permissible gaming activities such as bingo, lottery games, and raffles in the state.

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Overview of Online Gambling in Kansas

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In Kansas, there are different ways people can legally gamble, but changes in the past and some rules affect what's available. While horse race betting is legal in Kansas, the absence of operational tracks within the state confines this activity to online platforms like TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires. Although live horse racing hasn't taken place in Kansas since 2008, the state had previously embraced horse and greyhound racing following a constitutional amendment in 1987 through the Kansas Parimutuel Racing Act. Notably, Abilene, Kansas, once served as a key hub for greyhound breeding in the United States.

Despite this historical background, the closure of three horse racing tracks and a greyhound track occurred shortly after the legalization of casino gambling in 2007 via the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act. This act permitted racetracks to incorporate slot machines but imposed a significantly higher tax rate of 40% compared to the 22% tax imposed on casinos. Discussions have since ensued regarding the potential revival of these tracks, contingent upon their ability to offer sports betting on par with the casino tax rate for electronic gambling machines. Despite efforts to amend the tax rate during the 2020 Kansas sports betting bill, which narrowly failed, the legalization of sports betting was eventually realized in September 2022, allowing for six online sportsbooks and retail operations at Kansas casinos, each permitted to partner with up to three online platforms. Daily fantasy sports and bingo remain legal and regulated options within the state's gambling landscape.

The Legal Gambling Status in Kansas

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In Kansas, the legal gambling landscape is a mix of options and restrictions. While sports betting became legal in September 2022, online casinos remain prohibited. The Kansas Lottery offers standard games like scratch-off tickets and draws, including popular multi-state lotteries. Horse race betting is legal but limited to online platforms due to the absence of operating tracks in the state since 2008. Despite past attempts to revive horse and greyhound racing tracks after their closure in 2007 following the legalization of casino gambling, discussions about their potential resurrection have focused on aligning tax rates for gambling activities. Alongside these, daily fantasy sports and bingo maintain their legal status, offering alternative avenues for gaming enthusiasts in Kansas.

Type of Gambling Legal Status Description
Sports Betting Legal Permitted since September 2022. Online sportsbooks and retail operations are available in partnership with casinos.
Online Casinos Illegal Not permitted within the state. Residents access offshore platforms for casino gaming.
Kansas Lottery Legal Offers standard lottery games such as scratch-off tickets and draws, including major multi-state lotteries.
Horse Race Betting Legal Betting on horse races is allowed but is only accessible through online platforms; no operational tracks in Kansas.
Horse/Greyhound Racing Closed Tracks closed in 2008 post-legalization of casino gambling. Efforts discussed to revive tracks under revised terms.
Daily Fantasy Sports Legal Permitted and regulated since 2015, offering fantasy sports contests within the state.
Bingo Legal Regulated as a legal gaming activity in Kansas, providing opportunities for players.

License for Online Casinos in Kansas

In Kansas, the gambling landscape operates within specific legal frameworks. While online casinos remain illegal, recent legislation signed in May 2022 by Governor Laura Kelly, through SB 84, authorized both online and retail sports betting at Kansas casinos. However, the Kansas Lottery Act, established by the Kansas Legislature in 1987, governs the legality of the state lottery. Gambling licenses in Kansas are crucial components of this regulated industry, overseen and administered by the relevant state authorities. These licenses are granted to entities operating within the legal boundaries, such as casinos offering permitted gambling activities or businesses involved in lottery operations, ensuring compliance with the established regulations and maintaining the integrity of the gambling landscape in the state.

History and Timeline for Kansas Online Gambling

This timeline outlines the sequence of events that culminated in the legalization of gambling in the state of Kansas.

In the history of Kansas gambling, online casinos have yet to gain legal footing. While recent changes in law have greenlit sports betting, online casinos remain unaddressed by legislation. Unlike the progression seen in other regions embracing online casino gaming, Kansas has focused solely on permitting sports wagering, leaving a distinctive void in its gambling landscape without the legal framework for online casino operations. This distinct approach sets Kansas apart, emphasizing sports betting authorization while omitting provisions for online casino ventures.

  • 1986: Kansas voters amend Article 15, Section 3b of the Kansas Constitution, enabling the state to regulate horse and dog racing along with pari-mutuel wagering.
  • 1987: The Kansas Parimutuel Racing Act is passed by the state Legislature, establishing the Kansas Racing Commission (KRGC) to oversee and license pari-mutuel wagering and racing activities.
  • 1989: Woodlands Racetrack in Kansas City becomes the inaugural facility regulated by the KRGC, initially featuring a greyhound track and subsequently adding a horse racing track in its second year. Wichita Greyhound Park in Wichita also opens as the second commercially regulated track.
  • 2001-2006: Multiple attempts to introduce new gambling legislation in the Kansas Legislature are made annually but consistently fail to pass.
  • 2005: Stephen Martino assumes the role of executive director of the agency overseeing gambling regulations.
  • 2007: The Kansas Expanded Lottery Act (KELA) emerges, permitting the state to own and operate “destination casino resorts” in four designated gaming zones across the state. KELA also authorizes licensed pari-mutuel tracks to partner with the Kansas Lottery, allowing electronic gaming machines (slot machines) at these tracks.

Legalization of Sports Betting in Kansas

  • 2018: The Kansas Legislature holds hearings on sports betting bills, exploring options such as authorizing the Kansas Lottery to conduct wagering at lottery retailers and in partnership with gambling and horse racing facilities.
  • 2019: Despite early momentum, disagreements over who should oversee sports betting stall legislative efforts. The Kansas Constitution specifies state management of gambling, leading to conflicts over proposals involving the lottery's 50% tax rate and opposition from casino companies.
  • 2020: The Senate approves a bill authorizing sports betting at state-owned casinos with varying tax rates for in-person and online wagers. However, disparities between the Senate and House bills, such as wagering at lottery retailers and tax rates, hinder legislative progress.
  • 2021: The Senate passes a bill expanding the state lottery and allowing casino partnerships with online sportsbooks. The House rejects the bill, primarily due to differences in lottery-run sportsbooks and tax rates. Gov. Laura Kelly's previous resistance to sports betting adds complexity.
  • 2022: After several sessions and amendments, the House incorporates compromise bill language into SB 84, enabling sports betting at Kansas casinos. Agreements between chambers and the governor's signature lead to the law's enactment on May 12, with a soft launch on Sept. 1 and full commencement on Sept. 8. The opening prompts significant betting activity, with FanDuel and DraftKings dominating the market, accounting for over 70% of the betting handle, while GeoComply data shows substantial participation from Missourians, particularly from Kansas City.

Legalization of Online Gambling in Kansas

Kansas holds a stance declaring online gambling as illegal, although the exact status remains somewhat ambiguous. The Kansas Expanded Lottery Act facilitates the establishment of state-operated casino resorts and grants permission to four Native American tribes for casino construction. The legalization of parimutuel wagering for horse and dog racing adds to the gambling landscape. Despite these developments, the precise direction regarding the legalization of online gambling in Kansas remains uncertain, as regulations and clear guidelines concerning this form of gambling continue to be indeterminate.

Legal Gambling Forms in Kansas

In Kansas, legal gambling encompasses various forms, ranging from state-regulated activities to tribal gaming ventures. Approved forms of gambling in the state include the state lottery, which offers traditional games like scratch-off tickets and multi-state lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball. Parimutuel wagering on horse and dog racing is permitted, although no operational tracks currently exist within Kansas. Additionally, tribal gaming compacts enable Native American tribes to operate casinos within the state, contributing to the array of legalized gambling options available in Kansas.

The legal age for gambling in Kansas is 21 years old for most forms of gambling, including casino gaming and sports betting.

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Kansas Online Casinos

Online gambling in Kansas is a bit of a mixed bag. While the state has given the green light to online sports betting, there aren't clear rules for other types of online gambling.
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Kansas Sports Betting

Since the introduction of legalized sports betting in early September 2022, both retail sportsbooks and online platforms have thrived.
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Kansas Online Poker

As of the current legislation in Kansas, there aren't legal online poker sites operating within the state. However, there are avenues for poker enthusiasts to engage in the game through sweepstakes sites like Global Poker.
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Kansas Bingo

In Kansas, bingo has been a legal form of gambling since 1974, marking the state's initial foray into legalized gambling activities.
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Kansas Blackjack

Blackjack is a popular card game in Kansas, commonly found in both tribal and commercial casinos throughout the state. Players can engage in this classic game of strategy and luck at various casinos in Kansas, enjoying different variations and betting options.
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Kansas Lotteries

Kansas offers a state-run lottery that provides residents with a variety of gaming options.

Kansas Parimutuel Betting

Parimutuel betting on horse and dog races is legal in Kansas, although the number of operational racetracks in the state has decreased over the years.
Illegal

Kansas Prohibitet Gambling Activities

In Kansas, certain gambling activities remain prohibited under state law. One such activity is commercial casinos beyond those authorized by the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act, which permits only four state-licensed casinos.

Check Out These Online Casinos Available in Kansas

Discover a variety of permitted online casinos accessible in Kansas, where you have the freedom to select your preferred type of gambling entertainment. As part of the registration process within these platforms, age verification is a mandatory step to ensure compliance with legal betting age requirements. Choose from a diverse array of gambling options available at these authorized online casinos in Kansas, all while undergoing the necessary verification to ensure a safe and lawful gaming experience.

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Legalization of Bingo in Kansas

bingo

In 1974, the Kansas Legislature approved SCR 72, permitting a public vote to decide on the inclusion of bingo for charitable causes. This move was significant as, during that period, all lotteries remained prohibited under the Kansas Constitution. Hence, the resolution sought an exemption, seeking voters' approval to enable the implementation of bingo for charitable purposes, presenting a solitary exception to the constitutional ban on lotteries within the state. In Kansas, bingo operates as a popular form of charitable gaming. To conduct bingo games, organizations must acquire a license from the Kansas Lottery Commission, which oversees and regulates these charitable gaming activities. The proceeds generated from bingo events typically go toward charitable causes, such as supporting community programs, religious institutions, or other nonprofit initiatives. The regulations surrounding bingo in Kansas include restrictions on prize amounts, the number of games that can be played, and the frequency of events. Participants must meet the minimum legal gambling age of 18 to engage in bingo games.

Legalization of Blackjack in Kansas

blackjack

In the state of Kansas, traditional casino games constitute a significant part of the legal gambling offerings, encompassing a diverse array of options such as poker, slots, blackjack, roulette, craps, and video poker. Among these games, blackjack stands as a prominent and widely enjoyed casino staple available at authorized gambling establishments across the state. Blackjack, a card game known for its blend of skill and chance, forms a key component of the casino experience in Kansas, attracting players seeking strategic gameplay within the confines of legal gambling facilities. In Kansas, blackjack and other casino games are regulated by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC). This state regulatory body oversees and ensures the proper functioning, fairness, and compliance of casino gaming activities, including blackjack, within the authorized gambling facilities across Kansas. The legal age to participate in casino gambling, including playing blackjack, is 21 years old. This age restriction is strictly enforced by the KRGC to maintain compliance with state gambling laws and regulations governing casino operations in the state. It's important to note that while traditional casino games like blackjack are legally offered in brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos providing such games remain illegal within the state's jurisdiction, restricting access to these gambling options solely to physical casino venues in Kansas.

Legalization of Lotteries in Kansas

Lottery IconIn November 1986, Kansas voters overwhelmingly supported a constitutional amendment with a 64% approval rate, marking a pivotal step toward authorizing the establishment of a government-operated lottery in the state. This amendment paved the way for the creation of the Kansas Lottery, which came to fruition when the Kansas Legislature passed the Kansas Lottery Act in 1987. With the enactment of this legislation, the Kansas Lottery officially commenced operations, introducing a state-run lottery system that offered various games and opportunities for residents to participate in legalized gambling activities.

 

Kansas Parimutuel Betting

Horse Racing Icon

Betting on horse races in Kansas is legal but is only available online through platforms like TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires since live horse racing tracks ceased operations in 2008. In 1987, the Kansas Legislature legalized horse and greyhound racing following a constitutional amendment. After the legalization of casino gambling in 2007, the state's three horse racing tracks and one greyhound track shut down. Although the closure permitted racetracks to incorporate slot machines, the tax imposed was significantly higher than that imposed on casinos. Efforts have been discussed to potentially reopen these tracks if they could offer sports betting under similar tax conditions to casinos. An attempt in 2020 to lower the tax for racetrack slot machines narrowly failed on the Senate floor.

Kansas Prohibited Gambling Activities

In Kansas, the legal definition of gambling involves the act of risking something of value based on chance or the outcome of a future event, beyond an individual's control or influence, with the anticipation of gaining something valuable in return. The state authorizes specific gambling activities as lawful, aligning with provisions outlined in the Kansas Constitution. Notably, Kansas law tends to focus on penalizing gambling operators rather than individual players. “Promoting gambling” constitutes an offense when an individual knowingly accepts property or participates in activities materially supporting gambling ventures. However, the law offers a defense to individuals engaging solely as players, though the burden of proof rests on the defendant. Legal stipulations related to gambling in Kansas are primarily articulated within state statutes, notably in sections related to criminal conduct. The minimum age for various gambling activities in Kansas is typically set at 18 years old for bingo, lottery games, and certain forms of betting, while casino-style games generally mandate participants to be at least 21 years of age to engage lawfully.

Gambling in Kansas – Licensing, Tax and Fees

Tax and Fees Icon

In Kansas, the taxation framework for gambling winnings follows specific guidelines. The state imposes a gambling tax rate of 5% on proceeds earned from gambling activities within its jurisdiction. However, for fortunate individuals who secure substantial wins, such as those encountered through online sports betting or casino gambling, there's an additional federal tax withholding requirement. In such cases, the online sportsbook or casino withholds 24% of the winnings to fulfill federal tax obligations. This federal withholding, though distinct from the state's gambling tax, is an obligatory deduction intended for covering federal taxes on significant gambling winnings. Kansas residents benefit from a 5% withholding on gambling proceeds, ensuring compliance with the state's taxation policies governing gambling earnings within its borders.

Important Questions for Gambling Laws of Kansas

Is online gambling legal in Kansas?

No, online gambling, including online casinos, remains illegal in Kansas. While the state has embraced sports betting, allowing it both online and at retail sportsbooks since September 2022, online casinos are not permitted within Kansas' jurisdiction. Residents interested in casino-style gaming online typically resort to offshore platforms, as regulated online casinos are not available within the state.

What is the minimum age requirement for engaging in online casinos, sports betting, and poker in Kansas?

In Kansas, the minimum age requirement for engaging in various forms of gambling typically aligns with the legal gambling age for brick-and-mortar establishments. The legal age for participating in online casinos, sports betting, and poker in Kansas is typically set at 21 years old. This age restriction is consistently enforced to comply with state gambling laws and regulations governing both traditional and online gambling activities within the state.

How does parimutuel betting work in Kansas?

Parimutuel betting in Kansas involves a wagering system where bets are placed into a pool, and the odds and final payout depend on the total amount wagered on each outcome or participant in a race or event. In Kansas, parimutuel betting specifically applies to horse and dog racing, although live racing tracks have ceased operations in the state since 2008. However, individuals interested in parimutuel betting on horse races can participate through authorized online platforms such as TVG, BetAmerica, and TwinSpires. Bettors place their wagers on various race participants, and the odds fluctuate based on the betting pool's total size and the distribution of bets among the contenders. After the race concludes, the total pool is divided among the winning bets, with deductions for the track's takeout and taxes, resulting in payouts calculated based on the odds at the time of the race's start and the amount wagered on the winning outcome.

What types of gambling are legally permissible in Kansas?

In Kansas, legally permissible forms of gambling include sports betting, lotteries, bingo, horse racing, and land-based casinos.

Type of Gambling Legal Status
Casino-style Games Permissible at licensed casinos
Lottery Games Legal through the Kansas Lottery
Parimutuel Betting Legal for horse and dog racing; available online
Sports Betting Legal, including online and at retail sportsbooks
Charitable Bingo Permissible under specific regulations and licenses
Daily Fantasy Sports Legal and regulated
Pari-mutuel Horse Betting Permissible through authorized online platforms

Which regulatory bodies oversee gambling activities in Kansas?

The main regulatory entities responsible for overseeing various gambling activities in Kansas include:

  1. Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC): Regulates and supervises pari-mutuel betting, horse and dog racing, and other gaming activities associated with racetracks in the state.
  2. Kansas Lottery: Responsible for overseeing and regulating the state lottery, including lottery games, scratch-off tickets, and multi-state lotteries like Mega Millions and Powerball.
  3. Kansas Expanded Lottery Act (KELA) Oversight: For casino-style gambling activities, the oversight primarily falls under the purview of the provisions outlined in the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act, which introduced casino gaming in the state.
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Jessica Bozukova | Senior Content Writer

Jessica is a skilled writer adept at crafting unique casino reviews, bonus pages, slot analyses, and exciting gaming news. Her expertise lies in delivering compelling content tailored for the avid gaming community.
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