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Sports betting is coming to Kansas just in time for football season

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Courtesy of Dodge City's Boot Hill Casino and Resort
Kansas officials announced that the state will launch sports gaming through a "soft launch" at noon on Sept. 1.

Governor Laura Kelly announced last week that Kansas will legalize sports gambling in September.

Kansas officials announced that the state will launch sports gaming at a "soft launch" on noon of Sept. 1.

Sports betting in Kansas will be overseen by the Kansas Lottery, and will officially open fully on Sept. 8, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

The four casinos with contracts to receive bets are Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, and Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel in Pittsburg.

Butler National Corporation, an Olathe-based organization, manages Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City. Butler already has a partnership with two national sports betting brands, Bally Sports and Draft Kings, according to Butler Vice President, Chris Reedy.

Boot Hill Casino’s focus has been on the behind-the-scenes elements of sports wagering.

"There's all sorts of testing going on in the background. I mean, from a security perspective," Reedy said. "There are a lot of controls both state level and federal level that we need to comply with—a lot of that background information that a patron will never know and may never see."

Many worry about the dangers sports gambling can present, specifically addiction. Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business at the Gambling.com Group, said it's easy to point a finger, but gambling addiction is similar to alcohol and tobacco.

"There's structures in place to make sure that people are as protected as possible and is incumbent upon the entire ecosystem. It's not just the operators. It's not just the casinos. It's not just the players," Bichsel said. "We use Boot Hill and Draft Kings as examples. Draft Kings has algorithms in place to identify problematic behavior. They start to look at how many times people are wagering or their stake sizes growing".

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date. You can reach him at reginalddavid@kcur.org.
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