Real Money Online Gambling in Kansas

Kansas was once a gambling hotbed, then it became a state and did away with all of it for almost 100 years. It has since made quite a comeback though, a movement that has been underway for a few decades now as Kansas caught up and then passed a lot of states, and is still on the move.

Instead of just standing down and allowing tribal casinos to have the market all to themselves, Kansas is now among the states that not only tolerate Indian casinos, but to step up and join them with several licensed casinos of their own.

With Kansas now ready for both land-based and online sports betting, this may mark the beginning of a new era in Kansan gambling as the expectations have now been raised once again. Learn everything you need to in order to get the maximum out of today’s gambling scene in Kansas.

History of Gambling in Kansas

Kansas Online Casinos and SlotsKansas in its early days of settlement, like most frontier states, featured plenty of saloon gambling. Once Kansas became a state in 1861, it quickly grew tired of all the fights that would break out during gambling games and in an effort to cut down on this, banned all gambling and gambling devices in 1868.

Legal gambling in Kansas then took a very long hiatus, for over a century in fact, only emerging again when the state finally decided to legalize charitable bingo in 1974. Charitable bingo has generally been seen as the least objectionable form of gambling, due to this involving a lower stakes game that charities and not commercial operators benefit, where people lose less and lose it to what is seen as a good cause, or a better one at least than commercial gambling operators enriching themselves with gambling profits.

It took another 12 years for the state of Kansas to open their minds to more gambling, and this time the state took a seat at the table with their creating the Kansas Lottery. This took a state referendum to approve, as if one’s ability to play the lottery should be subject to public opinion, but Kansas voters did vote 2 to 1 in favor of a lottery and the next year the first tickets were sold.

1986 also saw pari-mutuel racing being approved, and Kansas had both a horse racing and greyhound track for a number of years. Live racing continued in the state until 2010, when the last track was closed. While betting on horses remains legal, there are no land-based venues to place these bets at, and while off-track betting is legal as well, there’s nowhere to do it at in the state, but Kansas does permit online wagering on horses and dogs in the state through approved apps.

Kansas also allows fantasy sports betting, although whether or not playing these games involves gambling in the normal sense is a matter of some dispute, given that players simply pay entry fees to enter sports-based contests, and this clearly does not fall under the definition of gambling that the state sets out, being dependent upon chance.

This is also the case with betting on horses, which is not dependent upon chance either, although having your state tell you that these things are legal does help clarify things to be sure. Kansas is only one of two states that has specifically legalized fantasy sports betting so there is no confusion even though the law does not in any way prohibit betting on any game of skill in any event.

This left actual games of chance still illegal, casino gambling and poker. 1988 saw a federal law passed giving certain Indian tribes the right to offer real money gambling on their land, whether states approved of it or not, and Kansas was one of the many states at the time that did not permit it and saw it established against its will. In 1996, Kansas’ first Indian casino was opened, and there are currently 6 tribal casinos that operate in the state, with another planned.

After watching their Indian tribes have the land-based gambling market all to their own, the Kansas Lottery decided to get in on the action themselves and started issuing licenses of their own in 2007. Today, there are 4 Kansas Lottery licensed casinos in the state, bringing the state’s total casino count to 10.

2020 was another watershed year as Kansas finally passed a bill to legalize sports betting after 2 years of debate. It’s main goal is stated to cut down on all the unregulated online gambling that they recognize goes on in the state, as this is the only way that this can be curtailed, along the lines of if you can’t beat them, join them. Kansas is also out to make some money but given that their tax rates on sports betting are the lowest in the country, this does tell us that they understand that they need to be competitive.

The Kansas of today is far from what anyone would consider a gambling hotbed, but they are at least off to a better start than a lot of states, even though they still have some catching up to do.

Kansas Key Facts

  • Abbreviation: KS
  • State Motto: Ad astra per aspera (To the stars through difficulties)
  • Capital City: Topeka
  • Largest City: Wichita
  • Population Estimate: 2.91 Million (35th)
  • Website: portal.kansas.gov

Kansas Gambling Laws

Kansas is one of the states that focuses their gambling laws on games of chance, although the fact that they felt that they needed separate laws to permit betting on horses and dogs and especially one to permit fantasy sports “betting” at least shows that they may not understand their own laws all that well and may believe, like several other states, that banning games of chance and banning gambling is the same thing.

Gambling in Kansas means making a “bet,” a bet is defined by state law as a bargain where one of the parties stands to win something “dependent upon chance.” Like many states, they do list a number of exemptions to this, which require that an act first be deemed to be making a bet that would otherwise be contrary to law if not for the exclusion.

This includes what the law refers to as bona fide business transactions and contracts of indemnity, and while it is difficult to imagine the state ever charging anyone with gambling by entering into business contracts, including insurance arrangements, it can be argued that there may be an element of chance that weighs on the results of these business arrangements and they are specifically excluded as not betting under the law to perhaps eliminate any risk of this being applied too broadly, even ridiculously so.

Excluding participants from benefiting from awards based upon “bona fide contests of skill” is listed as an exclusion as well, and this would also include by definition fantasy sports betting, since that’s exactly what this sort of entertainment involves, players paying entry fees and being awarded prizes based upon skill.

Neither betting on or participating in bona fide contests of skill involves betting on events subject to chance though, so excluding something that is excluded already by definition is both unnecessary and confusing. This includes betting on any events that are skill based, betting on horses for example, which is entirely a game of skill, both with the skill of the bettors and the skill of the participants, the animals themselves and those who manage them.

Any pari-mutuel wagering approved by the state also gets an exemption, although without this sort of betting being against the law in the first place, there is no need to specifically authorize it to be legal, even though the state can separately choose how to regulate its offering.

Charitable bingo and raffles as well as the lottery and fantasy sports betting also get exclusions, as does tribal gaming. Kansas has kept their law pretty well up to date, where you can see everything that they have allowed written into the main law, right up to the state licensing casinos which is dealt with separately.

Casino gaming for real money or anything else of value would fall under the definition of bets dependent upon chance, although betting on contests of skill, sports betting in other words, is clearly left out of the law as these contests are in no sense games of chance.

Whether playing poker is to be determined as a game of chance under Kansas law is left open, and given that Kansas’ definition did not specify the degree of chance necessary for a game to qualify as dependent upon chance, so this was left to judicial interpretation to decide. Whenever the law is not clear enough, the courts have to use their judgement. We often are left to guess when we don’t have these cases go to court, but Kansas did have this opportunity, where their courts defined the meaning of chance as an event that predominantly relies on it to decide the outcome of bets.

The court took the view that each hand can be understood as being predominantly based upon chance, where the element of skill impacting the results occurred over a multiple of hands, and then chose to view the game hand by hand and decided it was a game of chance on this basis. This decision was upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court.

The courts erred here though, likely from a misunderstanding of the game, as individual poker hands in practice do not get decided predominately by chance as they held. Many hands are decided purely by skill, the ones that do not get shown down, and most hands these days end prior to that. With hands that are subject to the weightings of the actual hands, the players getting to this point in the hand requires considerable skill, and when we add up the skill element in a given hand, it is still predominately a game of skill even at the hand by hand level.

The end result though is that both real money casino games and real money poker are both against the law unless permitted, and both the state and their tribal casinos do permit it at their permitted casinos. Kansas just legalized both land-based and online sports betting, so the law excluding sports betting is at least more of a moot point, even though there isn’t any law understood correctly that would prohibit any betting on games of skill anyway.

Land-Based Gambling in Kansas

Kansas’ first legal gambling since its frontier days was charitable gambling, where the state permits people to engage in bingo and raffles that are run by charitable organizations. They leveraged this into eventually allowing for several other forms of gambling, but social gambling is noticeably absent.

Kansas has both outlawed betting on all games of chance and then set out by law what forms of wagering on chance will be permitted, and social gambling just hasn’t made it on the list of exemptions yet. Some even wonder whether social gambling might be illegal, but there really isn’t any doubt here that this is against the law even though it may not be enforced.

Pari-mutuel betting has been legal in Kansas since 1986, and remains so even though the last track closed down a decade ago. There are no horse or dog races in Kansas anymore, and no off-track betting either, so you might think that no one bets on these things anymore in Kansas.

Kansas may not have much in the way yet as far as online gambling goes, but they do authorize it with betting on horse and dog races, which Kansans can access through several state-approved apps.

The Kansas Lottery and Kansas pari-mutuel wagering were born out of the same legislation, and Kansas sold its first lottery tickets in 1987. Kansas took their time rolling this out but now feature as extensive of a lottery offering as anyone, including their recently adding the latest multi-state game, Lucky for Life, all sold at 1,900 retailers across the state.

The Kansas Lottery also licenses casinos these days, by way of a new law passed in 2007 to enable this. After watching the Indians have casinos all to themselves for a decade, starting with the first of these being completed in 1996, the state of Kansas decided to give them some competition, and ended up issuing 4 licenses in 4 different parts of the state.

The Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City got the whole party started in 2009. Dodge City was famous during the frontier days, and was the location for the long-running Gunsmoke series. This casino boasts 580 slots and 16 casino table games including 2 poker tables, a café, and a snack bar.

The Kansas Star Casino was next to be built, in Mulvane, a suburb of Wichita, in 2012. It features 1,850 slot machines and 50 casino table games, along with a 13 table poker room. It also offers 5 restaurants and a 10,000 square foot convention center.

The Kansas Speedway in Kansas City opened in 2001, and was already one of the country’s premier NASCAR tracks before adding a Hollywood Casino in 2012. It is both the largest and most expensive casino to build in the state. Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway spent $368 million on a 100,000 square foot casino with 2,000 slots, 52 table games, a 12 table poker room, and 5 restaurants.

Rounding out Kansas’ 4 non-tribal casinos is the Kansas Crossing Casino in Pittsburg. They only spent $70 million building this one but they still managed to get a pretty nice casino out of the deal, with 625 slot machines, 16 gaming tables, a poker room, a restaurant, and a 600 seat event center.

Kansas’ Indian tribes add 6 more casinos to the selection in the state, bringing up the total of casinos in Kansas to 10. The 7th Street Casino in Kansas City looks more like a city hall than an Indian casino, and offers 500 slot machines across 3 floors of gaming, along with a café and 2 bars. The Casino White Cloud in White Cloud features 380 gaming machines including both slots and electronic table games, as well as bingo and a restaurant.

The Downstream Casino Resort straddles the border between Kansas and Oklahoma, with part of this casino in each state. It is owned and operated by the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, and offers 2,000 slot machines, 30 casino table games, a 14 table poker room, 5 restaurants, a 374 room hotel with a spa, and a golf course.

The Golden Eagle Casino in Horton offers 750 slot machines, 16 table games, bingo, and a buffet and snack bar. The Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Mayetta has 1,100 slots, 31 table games, a poker room, 5 restaurants, 2 bars, a 297 room hotel, a golf course, and an RV park. The Sac and Fox Casino in Powhattan features 600 slots, 10 table games, bingo, 4 restaurants, a showroom, a gift shop, and an RV park.

Federal approval has also been given to build a seventh tribal casino in Kansas, called the Park City Casino Project in Park City. It only has a Class II license so it can only offer electronic gaming and bingo, but the state of Kansas is actively trying to block it. The Indian tribe that is looking to build it is planning on calling it the Crosswinds Casino, but it may not be as easy as originally planned.

Kansas casinos are about to get a real shot in the arm as Kansas has approved sports betting, both at casinos and online. Kansas still remains underdeveloped compared to many states but they are catching up.

  • List of Land Based Casinos in Kansas
    CasinoAddressPhone
    Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway777 Hollywood Casino Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66111913-288-9300
    Kansas Star Casino777 Kansas Star Drive, Mulvane, KS 67110316-719-5000
    Prairie Band Casino & Resort12305 150th Rd, Mayetta, KS 66509785-966-7777
    Boot Hill Casino & Resort4000 W Comanche St, Dodge City, KS 67801620-682-7777
    Sac & Fox Casino1322 US-75, Powhattan, KS 66527785-467-8000
    Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel1275 S, US-69, Pittsburg, KS 66762620-240-4400
    Golden Eagle Casino1121 Goldfinch Rd, Horton, KS 66439785-486-6601
    7th Street Casino777 N 7th St Trfy, Kansas City, KS 66101913-371-3500
    Casino White Cloud777 Jackpot Dr, White Cloud, KS 66094785-595-3430

Kansas Online Casinos & Slots Gambling

Kansas may not be the first state that comes to mind when we think of online gambling friendly states, but this state has been surprisingly open to the idea. They were the second state in the country to pass a law legalizing fantasy sports betting, which is not exactly sports betting but does show that Kansas is not particularly frightened about their people putting money on things online.

This is also very evident in Kansas’ approach to pari-mutuel wagering. Usually, when the race tracks close, that’s the end of live betting on the horses or the dogs. Some still allow off-track betting at their racetracks no longer offering live racing, but Kansas doesn’t have even this anymore, yet their people still wager on these things online with the full permission of state authorities. Kansas even has kept its racing commission to manage this even though the actual races occur in other states.

When it came to deciding whether to offer sports betting, while some states choose to only offer land-based sports betting and are still shying away from real money online gambling of any sort, Kansas, not being so shy about this, approved both forms of sports betting. Online sports betting is set to come to Kansas very soon.

It’s not that Kansans haven’t been betting on sports online all this time, but this gives Kansas the opportunity to cash in on this. Kansas’ view of online gambling is remarkably practical compared to most states, where they do not try to pretend that none of this goes on and instead seek to join the competition and tax and regulate it.

State regulated real money online gambling is actually a step up from playing online at offshore sites, which Kansans and people from most states have been limited too all these years, because players can use their favorite deposit and withdrawal options when a site is regulated in the United States instead of in other countries. State regulation takes the restraining UIGEA out of the picture and you can use whatever you want instead of having to rely on Bitcoin or other anonymous methods.

Real money casino and poker are still on the horizon in this state, although the combination of Kansas’ above-average attitude toward online gambling and the way that states tend to move together on these things nowadays may see Kansas offer a full range of real money online gambling at some point in the near future as the idea continues to gain traction around the country.

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Future of Gambling in Kansas

Kansas remains reticent toward expanding land-based gambling in the state, and this prevailing reluctance is evident in the state opposing an eleventh casino in Kansas, even if it is built by the Indians. Kansas is proud of their arrangement with one of their casinos in all four districts of the state and do not look to be too eager to undo this arrangement by adding more.

Although there is a new tribal casino planned in Kansas, which should get built in spite of a lawsuit now in play trying to stop it, there may not be another one of these for a while at least. It’s not that the Kansas land-based gambling market is that underserved anyway, but they could probably stand a few more of the size that they have.

Whenever states seek to limit access to gambling, this means that they are very likely standing in the way of progress. The way we normally decide on land-based market saturation is to allow people to build all they want and that’s the only way to know if you have enough, by getting to too much first and then reaching equilibrium.

Kansas getting online sports betting is a huge win for their gambling market, especially given how popular sports betting is. Land-based gambling is much more of an occasional form of it than with online gambling, due to the huge difference between the level of access that each form allows.

Kansas is just a leap and a jump away from total gambling access in the state, and all this would take is to their becoming comfortable enough with allowing Kansans access to all the gambling they wish on demand, but their allowing people this level of access with sports betting takes us most of the way there.

It’s not that their people having access to real money online casino and poker now depends on the actions of the Kansas state government, as their decision to partake or not in the real money online gambling market comes down to their deciding to join the party that is already going on or not.

Kansas is one of the few states that even reference existing online gambling markets, not pretending that people can’t already gamble as much as they want online already, at any form that they choose that is offered anywhere in the world, and that the UIGEA had all offshore online sites refusing to take Americans anymore.

Kansas knows that it is competing for your online gambling money alongside the current entrants in the market, even though they do have a huge advantage over operators elsewhere in the world due to the ability to allow their sites to take popular payment methods. However, their absence or even what the law may say does not serve to prevent anyone from playing all they want.

While we wait for Kansas to decide to make some extra tax money from real money online casino games and real money online poker in addition to the online sports betting money they plan to collect very soon, should we wish to get a head start on this, all we have to do is decide to do it and nothing can stop us.

If you do wish to play now rather than someday, we are happy to provide you with our top recommendations among the offshore real money online gambling sites that accept players from Kansas, and with this in hand, you’ll have everything you need to enjoy first class online gambling any time you want.

Kansas Online Slots & Casinos FAQs
  • Why did Kansas have no gambling for almost a century?

    It can be helpful to look further out than just the recent past to seek to understand the present and future of a state’s gambling prospects. Kansas started out as a rock and tumble saloon gambling state, which had been going on for decades when Kansas became a state in 1861. They didn’t immediately ban it, but they got tired of all the fights that went on during these games, among armed men, that 7 years later they simply outlawed gambling to be rid of it. This sapped the momentum behind it and it was a very long time returning.

  • Why is Kansas gambling history important to understand today’s situation?

    If you tried to group Kansas together with other states in 1985 who only had charitable gambling among their permitted forms, this would leave Kansas among a group of states that typically really don’t like gambling and still don’t to a large degree. Kansas really didn’t have that big of a problem with gambling though as evidenced by it not being as railed against as most of these other states did. Once the mood changed a little, the door was easily opened.

  • What does Kansas law gambling law prohibit?

    Kansas has evolved quite a bit over the last few decades, but like just about all other states, rely on seeking to ban gambling entirely so that they can add to this with their permitted forms as they become added over the years. Some do this better than others, and Kansas is among those whose law is on the weaker side. Kansas bans gambling based upon chance, but needed their courts to define this as predominantly due to chance, and they completely forgot that sports betting is purely a game of skill and not chance like cards or dice produce.

  • Why did Kansas courts rule that poker was a game of chance?

    Poker is involves both elements of skill and chance, versus a sports bet which are based upon skill or a game of craps which depends wholly upon the random rolls of dice. The idea of the element of chance being in this law is a reasonable enough one, although “dependent upon chance” could also be understood to be dependent entirely on chance or to any degree, so they found the middle ground and decided poker was predominantly dependent upon chance.

  • Why do some other courts in different states see poker as a game of skill instead?

    Ideally, interpreting the law should be straightforward, and if you want to ban games of chance without exclusions, you can just specify it as dependent upon chance in whole or in part. Leaving out the “in part” element leaves the matter open to the opinion of the courts, and they end up being able to arbitrarily fill in the gaps with what they find agreeable. There are even courts that find a way to call it a complete game of skill and lean too far the other way.

  • What land-based gambling does Kansas currently allow?

    Kansas started their gambling revival by permitting charitable gambling in 1974, and the lottery and pari-mutuel wagering didn’t get approved until 1986. The lottery continues to be popular, although Kansas no longer has live racing you can bet on. They got their first Indian casino 10 years later, and after a decade of seeing the Indians have this all to themselves, the state licensed 4 non-tribal casinos. Sports betting has now been added to their gambling menu.

  • What are the prospects of Kansas adding more land-based gambling anytime soon?

    Kansas appears to have reached a plateau with their casino licensing, starting out with 3 and adding a fourth in 2015. The fact that they are portraying the plan has having a balance of 1 casino in the four regions of the state speaks to their wanting to stand pat at the present time. The Indians have federal approval to build another one on their side, but the state has sued the federal government to try to stop the project. This does not speak well to their appetite for these casinos increasing.

  • What real money online gambling has Kansas approved so far?

    Kansas already allowed fantasy sports, which is sort of like real money online sports gambling, even though you are only putting money up as an entry fee. Kansas also allows people to bet on horse and dog races online to make up for Kansas no longer hosting these races. Kansas’ new sports betting bill includes authorizing online sports betting, which will be added soon. The state has not yet approved real money online poker or real money online casino gaming.

  • What does the law say about unauthorized online gambling in Kansas?

    Owing to Kansas missing the part that sports betting is not substantially or in any way based upon chance, there isn’t any law against doing it offline or online, and Kansas’ licensed sports betting sites simply seek to replace existing options hosted elsewhere. It is against the law to play games based upon chance in Kansas, online or otherwise, and poker has been included in games of chance by the courts, so both real money online casino and poker playing are illegal.

  • How do Kansans get around this lack of state sanctioned online gambling access?

    Laws against online gambling in general are set up as illusions, and the reason why they are illusions is that the idea of the government having the means to enforce online gambling laws is a mirage. Kansas even recognizes this ability of players and are looking to get in the game as a competitor. If you are willing, we can show you the best real money online gaming sites out there that can be enjoyed by Kansans.

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Associate Writer: Simon loves to bet on sports as well as play online slots, and he has a keen eye for sorting out the honest sites from the not so honest.