The Sunflower State’s history of gambling is long and complex. It begins in the 19th century, in the saloons of the famous Dodge City when the State was a regional gambling hotspot. However, the Kansas gambling market has gone through turbulent periods over time — from being banned, to being licensed and allowed.
In the late 1980s, legislation changes transformed Kansas into a hotbed of gambling. However, it still lagged behind other states in the region. Oklahoma, Missouri, Colorado, and Iowa already had gambling establishments before the Sunflower State made them legal. Even though the Kansas legal stance toward gambling continues to change in a positive direction, no one can’t deny the fact that the current laws aren’t exactly wagering-friendly.
Under Article 15 of the Kansas State Constitution, certain exceptions permit legal forms of gambling such as state-run casinos and lotteries, greyhound and horse racing, bingo halls, charitable raffles, and even online wagering.
In this article, we will present a detailed overview of the gambling laws in Kansas and cover the specifics of what you can’t and can do when it comes to gambling. We will also present all legal types of gambling in Kansas today, as well as provide a list of places where you can enjoy gambling.
In the 19th century, Dodge City’s saloons were full of danger, and placing bets on various games was present a lot. However, they weren’t the first gambling establishments in the Sunflower State’s territory since the native Indians had enjoyed numerous forms of gambling for centuries. The cowboys who drove cattle down to Texas also liked to play various gambling games like Hazard — a dice-based game that evolved in today’s craps.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the betting in Kansas stopped — at least the one visible to the government. The authorities prohibited slots, and gambling was considered outlawed and immoral throughout the prohibition era.
However, in 1974, the Kansas Code legalized social games and charitable betting. Then, in 1986, a double-bill was passed that enabled pari-mutuel betting on licensed horse races (of course, on tracks that the government approved), as well as the creation of the State lottery. In addition, in the same year Amended Section 15 of the Constitution enabled Kansas to license, regulate and tax greyhound and horse races.
As of 1995, the native Indian tribes joined the Kansas gambling landscape since an agreement was concluded that year which allowed the building of four lavish casinos on their own land. After a couple of years, all four of them opened, creating the spine of Kansas gambling institutions.
In 2007, Kansas added further gambling laws and amendments. Up until that year, every proposed change was dismissed, although they were placed for voting every year. In the same year, the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act was proposed. The act enabled state-run and state-owned “destination casino resorts” set up in four different gaming areas within the state:
These areas could have casino resorts with lottery draws, slots, video poker games, and table games, but only through an agreement with the Kansas Lottery. Moreover, greyhound and horse races were permitted to house slot games and have become what people now call “racinos.” By now, the lottery has become quite popular in Kansas, and inter-state games like Powerball have raised the payouts even further.
Under the Kansas Law Statutes, any illegal form of gambling is considered a transgression against the public moral. It is defined as “Placing a bet” or “Entering or staying in a gambling locale with intention of wagering, participating in a lottery, or using a betting device.” Under the same Statutes, illegal betting is defined as “a bargain in which the contractors agree that, depending on chance, a party can lose or win something of value.”
Of course, legalized types of gambling and betting mentioned in the Kansas State Constitution and Kansas Statutes are not considered illegal forms of gambling. Creating a criminal gambling establishment is considered as a severity level 8 nonperson felony, while illegal betting is considered as a class B nonperson misdemeanor.
Currently, the Sunflower State legislation is quite skeptical regarding the legalization of intrastate online gambling. If any positive transformation were to happen, it would first need a change in the general attitude in the entire country.
According to the Kansas Lottery Act and State Constitution, there are a lot of prohibited forms of gambling. For example, pari-mutuel betting on greyhound and horse tracks is allowed only if the gambling establishment has a state license. However, if they do have one, they can also run video poker games and slot machines that are generally reserved for state-run gambling establishments.
Unfortunately, all pari-mutuel licenses were revoked in 2010, putting an end to this type of gambling. Even today, you can’t find legal race tracks anywhere in Kansas. However, a positive change may be on its way if Woodlands and Eureka Downs reach an agreement with the Kansas Lottery.
As we said, the Kansas Lottery runs casinos and lotteries in Kansas. It also manages a couple of casino resorts within the State. Here, you can play table games like blackjack, poker, roulette, craps, and many more. Besides numerous slot games, you can enjoy various video poker machines.
Veteran, fraternal, educational, non-profit, religious, and charitable organizations can host charitable raffles, instant bingo draws, and bingo. Under the 1995 Tribal Gaming Oversight Act, Indian tribes can run tribal casinos within the Kansas territory — here, you can play blackjack, roulette, poker, slots, and various other table games.
In the overall legislation picture, it looks like online gambling isn’t directly mentioned in Kansas gambling laws. The Kansas Statutes mention only daily fantasy sports as a legal form of online gambling. After Maryland, Kansas is the only state that has done it.
In essence, Kansas laws don’t explicitly say whether offshore gambling establishments or betting platforms are legal or not. However, keep in mind that this is only one type of interpretation — the final interpretation belongs to the court.
In summary, while online betting does not appear to be legal in the Sunflower State, the laws also don’t ban playing in betting websites and offshore online casinos. Moreover, Kansas has never prosecuted anyone for entering offshore casinos to this day. In the end, if a player has any worries about gambling online, they should think about contacting a lawyer before deciding to play for real money.
If you’re looking for some high-quality gambling experience, Kansas won’t leave you unfulfilled. The state offers attractive casino resort destinations, which are legal and have a license from the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission.
You can find this gambling enterprise within the legendary Dodge City. It is the first casino the state opened. There you can find over 600 slot games and over 20 table games, including:
This state-owned casino is open 24/7. However, the opening hours of its poker and table games differ depending on the day. Besides gambling entertainment, here you can find a great dining experience at restaurants like Firesides, or just grab something to eat on the go. Its address is 4000 W Comanche St, Dodge City, KS 67801.
If you’re looking for a premier gambling enterprise that has over two thousand top-notch slots and numerous table games, Hollywood Casino is the right place for you. Located within Kansas City, its list of table games include:
The casino is operational 24/7, and besides a large casino floor, it is also home to the Kansas Speedway — a world-famous raceway that is host to annual NASCAR races. There are five different buffets and restaurants in it. Moreover, Hollywood Casino also has contracts with some of the top hotels in Kansas City and offers nice discounts for their players. You can find it at 777 Hollywood Casino Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66111.
Yes. In Kansas, the state-owned Kansas Lottery runs completely legal casinos. In addition, in Kansas, you can find eight legal and licensed casinos operated by Tribes.
Although Kansas doesn’t directly deem online gambling as legal, the state doesn’t consider accessing offshore casinos as breaking the law.
In this state, you can wager on dog and horse racing, as well as gamble on table games such as blackjack, roulette, and poker.
You have to be 21 in order to enter gambling establishments in Kansas.
Yes, daily fantasy sports have been completely legal in Kansas since 2015.