Rep. John Barker, an Abilene Republican and chairman of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee, has taken the lead in the Kansas House on development of a bill legalizing sports gambling in Kansas. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)
TOPEKA — Managers of Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City entered an agreement with a mobile sports gambling company in anticipation the state of Kansas would eventually adopt legislation and regulations to legalize that form of wagering.
DraftKings reached a deal with BHCMC, a subsidiary of Butler National Corp. that operates Boot Hill Casino, to eventually bring an online sportsbook to that western Kansas casino.
“DraftKings is a leader in this fast growing industry and will bring a trusted, experienced mobile sports betting application to sports fans in Kansas when the law allows,” said Clark Stewart, chief executive officer at Boot Hill Casino, said Tuesday.
Sports betting activity is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, but Kansas and Missouri have not joined that group.
The Kansas Legislature has struggled for years to find consensus on a sports gambling bill. A recent Senate version would have granted the four state-owned casinos significant control of the market, while the House was keen to emphasize development of sports betting through Kansas Lottery retailers.
The debate has grown complex with legislators fighting about revenue sharing, prospects of growth and other details. Organizations have advocated for inclusion in the bill a moratorium on wagering on greyhound races. In addition, there has been a push to allow Sedgwick County voters to reconsider a ban on placement of slot machines at the defunct Wichita Greyhound Park.
A new proposal would permit state-owned casinos in Pittsburg, Dodge City, Mulvane and Kansas City, Kansas, as well as casinos operated by federally recognized Native American tribes, to open retail sports books and to form business relationships with online providers.
The 2022 Legislature convenes in January, but there’s no guarantee a workable solution would be found to policy obstacles would emerge.
“We look forward to the opportunities that lay ahead and remain optimistic that Kansas lawmakers will enact common sense legislation that will benefit the state and its constituents,” said Jeremy Elbaum, senior vice president of business development at DraftKings. “As we continue our quest to expand our mobile sportsbook footprint to every state in the U.S., we are eager to begin working with Boot Hill Casino & Resort.”
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