Bally’s (NYSE:BALY) has a foot in the door for sports wagering in Kansas, assuming the state gets around to legalizing that activity.
On Monday, the gaming company said it inked an accord with Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City to bring the Bally Bet mobile sportsbook app to the state if and when regulated sports wagering is approved there. The agreement brings Bally’s access to a 14th state — a number that’s increasing due to the operator’s penchant for acquisitions.
If sports betting goes live in the state, Boot Hill will implement Bally Bet and make the app available to Kansas bettors.
All gaming in Kansas is owned and operated by the Kansas Lottery. The arrangement, as required by law, would license, transfer or lease the necessary Bally’s mobile sportsbook elements to the Lottery to offer Kansas sports fans a premium sports betting platform,” according to a statement.
Rhode Island-based Bally’s already operates in markets close to Kansas, including Iowa and Missouri, and neighboring Colorado is the state where the company is beta testing Bally Bet.
Waiting on Kansas Legalization
Currently, sports wagering is live and legal in 21 states and Washington, DC with another nine states in the legal but not yet operational camp.
Conversely, there are 17 states where little movement on the issue is expected this year — six that have no related pending legislation at all and 11 where sports betting initiatives died. Kansas is in the latter category.
With the support of gaming companies, such as BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel, Senate Bill 84 (SB 84) moved through that chamber in March, but a committee in the Kansas state house of representatives rejected it in April.
The bill would allow the state’s four brick-and-mortar casinos to open retail sportsbook and partner with operators in that space. Additionally, it would permit venues such as Kansas Speedway — home to a pair of annual NASCAR events — to team up with a local casino to open mobile sports betting areas.
For now, sports betting isn’t dead in Kansas, per se, but it faces long odds of being passed this year.
Allure of Kansas for Bally’s
Kansas has just 2.91 million residents and no professional sports teams, so it’s not likely to be a sports betting hotbed on par with New Jersey, Nevada or Pennsylvania, to name a few. However, there are other reasons why Bally’s is keen to enter the state.
For now, Colorado is the only state bordering Kansas that’s in the live and legal sports betting camp. Plus, the plains state is another opportunity for Bally’s to leverage its relationship with Sinclair Broadcast Group.
“Bally’s expects that its media partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, which provides it with access to integrate content into Sinclair’s portfolio of 19 regional sports networks, will also attract sports fans in neighboring states to the Kansas mobile sportsbook,” according to the statement.
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