Kansas Casino Sues State In Response To Legalization Of Sports Betting

The owners of the Kansas Star Casino, located 15 miles south of Wichita, are balking at the legalization of Kansas sports betting.

Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, which operates the casino, claims that its license with the Kansas Lottery guarantees it exclusive access to sports betting in the state. The Kansas Star opened in 2011, and according to ownership, the state is not allowed to permit sports betting on electronic devices in the area near Wichita.

The recently signed bill allows sports betting throughout the state via mobile device, computer, or at approved retail sports betting locations.

The lawsuit claims that the use of kiosk-style betting machines would violate the agreement between the Kansas Lottery and Kansas Star Casino, which it is claimed is not permitted to have such devices at a location near the casino. The state would presumably grant a license to Wichita Greyhound Park, which is not far from the Kansas Star.

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Possible Motive For Lawsuit

“Boyd has lived up to its obligations, successfully operated the Kansas Star, and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Kansas Star based on the State’s contractual promise,” the company wrote in a statement about the lawsuit.

The operators of the Kansas Star Casino have publicly supported an expansion of sports betting in Kansas. Still, the lawsuit is apparently an effort to force the state to pay a $25 million fee to break their exclusivity clause. The state, Kansas Lottery, and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission are named as defendants in the lawsuit.

The state could argue that machines at the Wichita Greyhound Park, which display horse racing results at other tracks and allow bets to be placed at the retail location, would not be considered the type of gaming machines that violate the agreement with the Kansas Star Casino.

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Next Steps For Kansas Sports Betting

Following Gov. Laura Kelly’s signing of the bill last Thursday, the state can proceed with plans to implement sports betting. Typically that includes an implementation timeline, debate on license applications, and the process for vetting applicants.

Sports fans in Kansas can already wager on fantasy sports, so the addition of sports betting via computers and mobile devices will extend what is available.

Kansas will become an oasis of sorts since only one of its neighboring states (Colorado) has legal online sports betting. To the south, Oklahoma and Texas do not have serious legislative efforts in place to legalize sports betting in the near future.

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