Kansas Sportsbooks Make $70 Million During Market’s First Year

But the state’s half-dozen sportsbooks also “learned the hard way” that they won’t make a lot of revenue when the hometown Chiefs win the Super Bowl.
Flags for the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team are seen flying in Kansas City, KS. Kansas Sportsbooks Make $70 Million During Market's First Year
By
October 06, 2023

We also learned the hard way, when the hometown team wins the Super Bowl, that you don’t make a lot of money when you’re running a sports betting operation. But this is totally worth it. Here in Kansas, we bet on the Chiefs. The half-dozen sportsbooks in Kansas generated $70 million in revenue and accepted nearly $1.9 billion in wagers from the first year of legal sports betting in the Sunflower State.

Data from the Kansas Lottery show that wagers from online sports betting totaled nearly $1.8 billion from six operators, with four retail sportsbooks in the state handling the remaining $81 million. There was a similar disparity in terms of revenue — with online revenue totaling $65.8 million and retail nearly $4.2 million.

“We’ve learned a lot, and we’re still learning, and we exceeded our projections,” Kansas Lottery Public Information Officer Cory Thone told KWCH-TV in Wichita last month.

“We also learned the hard way, when the hometown team wins the Super Bowl, that you don’t make a lot of money when you’re running a sports betting operation. But this is totally worth it. Here in Kansas, we bet on the [Kansas City] Chiefs.”

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Super Bawl: Sportsbooks Crushed by Chiefs’ Win

Thone was referring to Super Bowl LVII, which proved to be especially disruptive for operators in February.

The majority of bettors picked the Chiefs to beat the Philadelphia Eagles (the Chiefs won, 38-35) and for Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes to win Super Bowl MVP (he did). That crushed all six sportsbooks — only FanDuel reported revenue that month, and it was a paltry $11,342. (PointsBet had a negative net carryover from January).

Revenue from online sports betting rebounded and was above $9 million in March and April, largely because the Kansas Jayhawks and the Kansas State Wildcats made the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness.

KU and K-State also went to bowl games for college football in December. It took three overtimes, but KU eventually lost to Arkansas 55-53 in the Liberty Bowl on December 28. Meanwhile, the Wildcats fell to Alabama, 45-20, in the Sugar Bowl on December 31.

“This has been a pretty incredible year for sports in the Sunflower State,” Thone said.

FanDuel, which operates under the land-based license of the Kansas Star Casino, led in terms of annual online revenue with $29.4 million. DraftKings, on the Boot Hill Casino & Resort license, generated $27.3 million. Barstool Sportsbook (Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway) just slipped in front of Caesars Sportsbook (Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel) for third place with $4.1 million in online revenue for the year — Caesars made $4 million.

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DraftKings Dominated Handle in First Year

FanDuel may have been the top online sportsbook for revenue for the first year the market was open in Kansas, but it was the second banana in a big way to DraftKings in terms of online handle.

DraftKings Sportsbook handled $753.4 million in wagers during the year, compared to $538.4 million for FanDuel. BetMGM Sports was third with a $223.9 million handle, followed by Caesars ($120.4 million), Barstool ($112.3 million), and PointsBet ($21 million).

Fanatics acquired PointsBet’s operations in Kansas on August 31, so all handle and revenue figures by the Kansas Lottery to date are from PointsBet. Fanatics rebranded the online platform as “PointsBet, a Fanatics Experience,” on September 7.

Governor Laura Kelly signed sports betting into law in May 2022, and the vertical launched on September 1, 2024. Sports betting is taxed at 10% in Kansas, which means the state generated $7 million in tax revenue from its first year of sports betting.

Most of that money is earmarked for the Attracting Professional Sports in Kansas fund, which aims to entice either the NFL’s Chiefs or MLB’s Kansas City Royals to relocate from neighboring Missouri. Kansas Lottery officials testified before the Legislative Budget Committee on September 28 that the fund at the time held $4,098,097. The fund likely totals about $4.9 million now.

That would be a fraction of what it would cost to build a new stadium. In a report last August, The Kansas City Star estimated that a new stadium for the Royals would cost about $1 billion, while a new domed stadium for the Chiefs comes with a price tag of about $2.8 billion.

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