All in One Guide to Gambling in Kansas

The laws in Kansas pertaining to gambling were originally constructed to be
quite strict, but more than a century of progress has seen the Sunflower State
blossom into a home for casinos, card rooms, bingo halls, lottery drawings and
even online gambling, via the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry.

Even so, vestiges of Kansas’ traditional aversion to gambling remain intact,
as evidenced by the growing list of police raids on private poker clubs and the
like.

Knowing exactly which gambling game will put you in hot water with the law is
essential for players everywhere, but the issue can be particularly sticky in
Kansas. At one point, casinos of all stripes were banned statewide – but over
the last 30 years, tribal gaming expansion on the federal level opened the
doors, and today the state itself owns and operates four commercial casinos.

This is rapid progress when it comes to passing legislation and crafting new
regulations, which has worked to leave many residents and visitors to the state
wondering exactly where things stand. When the issue of online gambling, and the
various controversies therein, are added to the mix- it’s no wonder why so many
Kansans have questions about gambling in their state.

We’ve put this page together to help provide some answers, and while were
admittedly no legal experts, our research should leave you feeling much more
informed about the long history of gambling laws in Kansas.

Without further ado, we present our guide to gambling in Kansas, which comes
complete with everything you need to know about online gambling there, along
with a detailed breakdown of the actual laws in question, a timeline of key
developments and a wealth of additional resources to bring readers up to speed.

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Online Gambling and Kansas Law

Just over 10 years ago, the Bush Administration and Congress tacked an online
gambling ban onto a necessary port spending bill, knowing full well that it
would be passed without proper study.

That’s how the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) of 2006
came to be, and ever since then, operating an online gambling site in the United
States has been considered to be a criminal act. But the UIGEA relied on a
previous interpretation of a 1961 law known as the Wire Act, which prohibited
sports bettors from placing wagers over the telephone.

The connection between dial up Internet and telephones is apparent, which led
to the Wire Act being used as justification for the UIGEA’s blanket ban over
online gambling. Thankfully, however, the Department of Justice reviewed its
stance on the Wire Act in 2011, issuing a revised opinion which held that it
only applied to sports bets placed online – not casino games, slots or poker.
This paved the way for individual states to create their own legalized and
regulated online gambling industries – something Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware
have already done.

Kansas isn’t among the long list of states exploring online gambling
regulation of its own, and in fact, a 2013 bill was introduced to ban the
industry altogether. But progress continues to be made, and in 2015, a law was
signed by the Governor to legalize and regulate daily fantasy sports (DFS)
contests online.

You’ll learn more about the minutiae of those laws as this page goes on, but
for now, you should know that tens of thousands in Kansas are regularly logging
on to gamble online. If you’re one of them, or would like to join their ranks,
the best thing you can do to protect yourself is choose a reputable,
well-respected online gambling platform.

Sites like (X), (Y), and (Z) top our personal list of favorites because
they’ve each put in the work necessary to cultivate strong reputations with a
notoriously hard to please customer base. Online gamblers can be a picky crowd,
but these sites have managed to keep us coming back for more through a
combination of consumer protection, game integrity, software design and customer
service.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Kansas?

That’s a tricky question, but on a purely technical level, we’d have to say
yes.

Our opinion is based on the provisions within Section §21-6403, which defines
illegal gambling devices (emphasis added):

“An illegal gambling device is any] other machine, mechanical device,
electronic device or other contrivance including, but not limited to, roulette
wheels and similar devices, which are equipped with or designed to accommodate
the addition of a mechanism that enables accumulated credits to be removed, is
equipped with or designed to accommodate a mechanism to record the number of
credits removed or is otherwise designed, manufactured or altered primarily for
use in connection with gambling.”

Again, we’re no lawyers, so take this with a grain of salt. A trained
attorney could easily argue that an online poker room accessed via your laptop
is not a device in and of itself, while the laptop is surely not designed
primarily as a gambling device.

Even so, legal language like that above intentionally casts a wide net, and
lawmakers tend to add exemptions when trying to protect a given activity. That’s
why you’ll find laws like Section §21-4306 on the books, which excludes antique
slot machine collections from criminality:

“It shall be a defense to a prosecution under this section that the gambling
device is an antique slot machine and that the antique slot machine was not
operated for gambling purposes while in the owner’s or the defendant’s
possession. A slot machine shall be deemed an antique slot machine if it was
manufactured prior to the year 1950.”

Believe it or not, legislators aren’t actively trying to craft confusing laws
with unintended consequences, as demonstrated by the historical slot machine
exemption.

And the fact that no such exemption has been added to the Kansas Statutes,
despite online casinos, poker rooms and slot parlors becoming widely popular
over the last two decades, leads us to believe that lawmakers in Kansas have no
problem banning online gambling.

Indeed, a 2013 effort known as House Bill 2055 even tried to add language to
the law which would explicitly prohibit online gambling. That bill ultimately
failed to gain traction, but it shows where the wind seems to blow on this
subject.

With that said, no laws can be found that specifically outlaw online gambling
– In fact, Kansas has authorized at least one form as a legal and regulated
pursuit in daily fantasy sports (DFS).

Whenever authorities try to prosecute crimes for which no laws have been
written, the result is usually a case dismissed out of hand. So while online
gambling isn’t exactly legal in Kansas, it’s clear lack of illegality should
leave players protected.

Are Offshore Gambling Sites Safe?

Just like an off-brand casino out in the middle of nowhere makes you feel
less safe than a brightly lit megaresort on The Strip, online gambling venues
are quite stratified.

Aside from the major operators that have been in business for years (and even
decades), the industry is largely made up of newcomers hoping to cash in on the
latest fad. The lack of federal regulation over online gambling doesn’t help at
all, leaving players in a “Wild West” scenario in which the house can literally
refuse to pay winning wagers, or simply walk away with player funds in tow.

This is why your basic Google search for online gambling will invariably
return complaints and criticisms voiced by aggrieved players. Many sites out
there are more than happy to take your deposit, but when lady luck finds your
side and you run up a bankroll, they’ll restrict withdrawals, build in lengthy
delays or claim your winnings were the result of cheating.

Of course, when these horror stories occur, any online gambler worth their
salt heads to the popular forums to vent and warn other players to stay away.

If you judged by search engine hits alone, you’d likely suspect that online
gambling is a shady world dominated by hucksters and con artists. That approach
leaves out the millions of satisfied customers who place wagers online every day
without complaint.

The trick is to locate top-performing sites- those who have carefully crafted
strong reputations within the online gambling community. Longstanding platforms
like (X), (Y) and (Z)* have served their customers well time and time again,
paying out in a timely manner, ensuring that bonus funds are actually usable and
offering top-notch promotions along the way.

Unfortunately, there are far fewer “praise boards” when compared to the
complaint variety, so these reputable companies don’t have their praises sung
like they should. When you filter out the steady stream of poor-performing sites
that muddy the waters for everybody, you’ll realize that the online gambling
industry is among the safest on the Internet – provided you know where to look.

Can I Get Arrested For Gambling Online in Kansas?

As we discussed in answering the first question, Kansas’ authorities have no
legal recourse to pursue online gambling arrests.

Without a law on the books to specifically criminalize online gambling,
Kansas falls into that fateful “grey area” that most American states occupy in a
post-UIGEA world. A thorough search revealed no public records of arrests in
Kansas stemming from online gambling, and it would appear likely that local
police agencies are focused more on shuttering illicit poker clubs and card
rooms of the brick and mortar variety.

More Gambling Laws in Kansas

  • Casino Games: Legal
  • Tribal Gaming:Legal
  • Poker: Legal
  • Horse Racing Betting: Legal
  • Dog Racing Betting: Legal
  • Lottery: Legal
  • Bingo: Legal
  • Daily Fantasy Sports: Legal
  • Charitable Gaming: Legal- Under Certain Circumstances
  • Social Gambling: Illegal

By now, most forms of gambling have been addressed by Kansas lawmakers, and
in almost all cases the debate has ended in legalization. That’s why you’ll find
a healthy mix of tribal and commercial casinos in the state, along with a
lottery program, bingo halls, racetracks and even regulated daily fantasy sports
played online.

Even so, Kansas maintains several laws which address individual gambling
violations, which we’ll run through in detail below.

Section 21-6403 of the Kansas Statutes provides the definition of an illegal
wager:

“‘Bet’ means a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon
chance, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the
agreement.”

That definition then goes on to list several exemptions, including those
allowing for wagers on animal races, a state lottery program, charitable bingo
games and raffles, pari-mutuel racing, tribal casinos and daily fantasy sports
(DFS).

The same section provides definitions for illegal gambling devices, making
operation of a slot machine, roulette wheel or similar casino accoutrements a
crime when conducted outside of a licensed facility:

“‘Gambling device’ means any So-called ‘slot machine’ or any other machine,
mechanical device, electronic device or other contrivance an essential part of
which is a drum or reel with insignia thereon, and:

(i) Which when operated may deliver, as the result of chance, any money or
property; or

(ii) by the operation of which a person may become entitled to receive, as
the result of chance, any money or property;

(B) other machine, mechanical device, electronic device or other contrivance
including, but not limited to, roulette wheels and similar devices, which are
equipped with or designed to accommodate the addition of a mechanism that
enables accumulated credits to be removed, is equipped with or designed to
accommodate a mechanism to record the number of credits removed or is otherwise
designed, manufactured or altered primarily for use in connection with
gambling.”

Of course, those devices are perfectly legal when furnished by a tribal
casino, state-owned casino or similarly licensed venue.

When it comes to private card clubs, or even home poker games enjoyed amongst
friends, Section 21-6043(f) makes it clear that gambling of this nature is
forbidden:

“A ‘gambling place’ means any place, room, building, vehicle, tent or
location which is used for any of the following: Making and settling bets;
receiving, holding, recording or forwarding bets or offers to bet; conducting
lotteries; or playing gambling devices.

Evidence that the place has a general reputation as a gambling place or that,
at or about the time in question, it was frequently visited by persons known to
be commercial gamblers or known as frequenters of gambling places is admissible
on the issue of whether it is a gambling place.”

You’ll learn more about the laws governing social and/or charitable games,
and all other forms of wagering later in the page, but sufficed to say, location
is everything when it comes to gambling in Kansas.

Gambling Venues in Kansas

Kansas Map

    1) 7th Street Casino

    Type: Tribal Casino

    Opened: 2008

    Table Games: 0

    Slot Machines: 575

    Location: 777 North 7th St TW, Kansas City, KS 66101

    Phone: (913) 371 – 3500

    2) Casino White Cloud

    Type: Tribal Casino

    Opened: 1998

    Table Games: 0

    Slot Machines: 380

    Location: 777 Jackpot Dr, White Cloud, KS 66094

    Phone: (785) 595-3430 & (877) 652-6115

    3) Golden Eagle Casino

    Type: Tribal Casino

    Opened: 1996

    Table Games: 25

    Slot Machines: 600

    Location: 1121 Goldfinch Rd, Horton, KS 66439

    Phone: (785) 486-6601

    4) Prairie Band Casino

    Type: Tribal Casino

    Opened: 1998

    Table Games: 31

    Slot Machines: 1,200

    Location: 12305 150th Rd, Mayetta, KS 66509

    Phone: (785) 966-7777

    5) Sac & Fox Casino

    Type: Tribal Casino

    Opened: 1997

    Table Games: 10

    Slot Machines: 700

    Location: 1322 US-75, Powhattan, KS 66527

    Phone: (785) 467-8000

    6) Boot Hill Casino & Resort

    Type: State-Owned Casino

    Opened: 2009

    Table Games: 18

    Slot Machines: 700

    Location: 4000 W. Comanche, Dodge City, KS 67801

    Phone: (620) 682 – 7777

    7) Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway

    Type: State-Owned Casino

    Opened: 2012

    Table Games: 52

    Slot Machines: 2,000

    Location: 777 Hollywood Casino Blvd, Kansas City, KS 66111

    Phone: (913) 288 – 9300

    8) Kansas Star Casino

    Type: State-Owned Casino

    Opened: 2011

    Table Games: 50

    Slot Machines: 1,850

    Location: 777 Kansas Star Dr, Mulvane, KS 67110

    Phone: (316) 719-5000

    9) Kansas Crossing Casino

    Type: State-Owned Casino

    Opened: 2017

    Table Games: 16

    Slot Machines: 625

    Location: 1275 US-69 BUS, Pittsburg, KS 66762

    Phone: (620) 240-4400

History of Gambling in Kansas

1846

Known as the Wyandotte Constitution, the version of Kansas’ state Constitution which is still in effect today was approved by voters via public referendum. Under Article 15, Section §3 of the Kansas Constitution, “lotteries and the sale of lottery tickets are forever prohibited.”

1895

The Kansas Legislature passes a law allowing for small-stakes gambling on horse races held at county fairs.

1903

Mayor Ben McLean of Wichita spearheads an effort which results in slot machines being banned statewide.

1986

With support from 64 percent % of voters, a constitutional amendment is passed which authorizes Kansas to create a state lottery program.

1987

The Kansas Legislature approves the Kansas Lottery Act, charging the program with a mission to “produce the maximum amount of revenue possible for the State of Kansas while ensuring the integrity of all games.”

1988

Congress authorizes the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which allows any federally recognized Native American tribe to enter into gaming compacts with the state on which their reservation lands are situated. The IGRA provides the basis for Kansas’ collection of tribal casinos

1995

With the establishment of the Kansas State Gaming Agency, lawmakers begin the process of complying with the IGRA, negotiating with the four federally recognized tribes there to form the Tribal Gaming Oversight Act one year later.

1996

Golden Eagle Casino, located on the Kickapoo Reservation, becomes the first tribal casino to accept legal wagers in Kansas.

2007

The Kansas Legislature passes Senate Bill 66, a comprehensive gambling expansion package which extends the Lottery for the next 15 years, and allows the Lottery to oversee operation of up to four state-owned casinos. The bill also enables up to three pari-mutuel betting locations to offer video gaming machines (VGMs) that mimic casino table games in an electronic format.

2009

With the opening of Boot Hill Casino, Kansas becomes the first state to own and operate its own casino venue.

2015

Governor Sam Brownback signs House Bill 2155 into law, a comprehensive gambling expansion effort which received widespread support in both the House (37-1) and Senate (98-21). Under the law, which was known as the Kansas Charitable Gaming Act, charitable organizations were permitted to offer bingo games and raffles for the first time. Another provision explicitly legalized the daily fantasy sports (DFS) industry.

Kansas Gambling FAQ

After spending some time wading into the muck of statewide gambling laws,
most of us are left with more questions than answers.

That’s perfectly fine because the clearest evidence of an advancing education
is the ability to ask questions about what you’ve already learned.

With that in mind, the following three questions are indicative of what most
readers are left to ponder once this page reaches its end. We’ve tried our best
to be anticipatory in that regard, so take a look below to see if your concerns
have been addressed:

Question 1: If casinos with attached poker rooms are legal in Kansas, why can’t I can set up a small poker club that caters to friends?

Well, funny you mention the word “cater” in relation to poker clubs, because
that’s exactly how Nilla’s Poker Room in Wichita advertised its services via
Facebook:

“Nillas is Wichitas premier poker room. Open 7 days a week, the drinks stop
at 2 but the game goes all night. come on down where we cater to the player.”

We used the past tense there for a reason, as Nilla’s was raided and shut
down by local authorities in February of 2016 – with several operators and
players arrested as a result.

That’s because the Kansas Statutes prohibit private citizens from engaging in
any form of gambling that is contingent on chance, under Section §21-6403:

“‘Bet’ means a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon
chance, one stands to win or lose something of value specified in the
agreement.”

And while that law includes no less than nine exemptions, covering wagers
like the state lottery, pari-mutuel horse racing and fantasy sports leagues –
poker failed to make the cut. Crucially, that’s contingent on the age-old debate
over whether poker is a game of chance or a game of skill.

Many states have been converted to the game of skill school of thought,
differentiating the player-banked, decision-dependent game of poker from pure
gambles like roulette. Kansas isn’t one of them, though, so unless you’re
talking about the card rooms found inside casinos licensed by the state, playing
poker at a club or home game is considered to be a criminal act.

Local police and prosecutors are taking this law seriously. Along with the
Nilla’s raid, several popular poker clubs and card rooms have caught the
attention of authorities, and even high-stakes poker player/local business man
Brandon Steven has been caught up in the dragnet.

You can take our word for it, or let Wichita city attorney and director of
law, Jennifer Magana, answer your question directly, as quoted by the Wichita
Eagle in the wake of the Nilla’s arrests:

“Poker is illegal under Kansas state law and under city ordinance.

The ordinance hasn’t changed. The state law hasn’t changed.”

One reason for the confusion over the poker club law stems from House Bill
2155, also known as the Kansas Charitable Gaming Act, which was passed in 2015.
This law creates exemptions for social gambling, protecting bingo games and
raffles which are held for charitable purposes.

At the time, many Kansans mistakenly believed that the reforms applied to
poker as well, based on a series of high-profile, poker-themed charity events
being shut down in recent years.

Unfortunately, poker wasn’t mentioned within HB-2155, so as Magana made
clear, playing poker in Kansas outside of a licensed casino simply isn’t in the
cards.

Question 2: We all remember those ads for DraftKings and FanDuel that blanketed the airwaves a few years back, but I’ve heard daily fantasy sports (DFS) is actually illegal in many states – so what’s the story?

Whenever a new industry seems to come out of nowhere to achieve mainstream
prominence, government on all levels tend to be interested in the potential tax
implications.

In the case of daily fantasy sports (DFS), when DraftKings and FanDuel made
their grand entrance via wall-to-wall commercials, several states perked up and
began examining the flourishing industry that managed to spring up without
regulation.

In November of 2015 the floodgates opened, as New York’s attorney general
Eric Schneiderman filed an injunction against the two major DFS operators,
alleging that they were operating in violation of state law. This forced the
sites to withdrawal from New York altogether, and soon enough, a handful of
states around the country pursued similar legal action.

But within a years’ time, New York legislators got together and passed DFS
regulation, and now that the industry was a tax-paying member of the community,
New York welcomed DraftKings and FanDuel back with open arms.

Cases like this have clouded the air when it comes to statewide DFS legality,
and indeed, the situation is quite fluid.

When it comes to Kansas though, the issue is crystal clear, House Bill 2155
tackled DFS regulation (along with its stated purpose of expanding charitable
gambling). HB-2155 was passed in a nearly unanimous 37-1 vote by the House,
while the Senate voted 98-21 to make DFS a legal industry in Kansas.

With the signature of Governor Sam Brownback on May 19, 2015, HB-2155 became
the law of the land – making real money DFS contests a fully legal and regulated
industry for Kansans to enjoy. As codified by Section §21-6403(d) of the Kansas
Statutes, DFS and other fantasy sports leagues must comply with the following
provisions to be considered legal:

“‘Fantasy sports league’ means any fantasy or simulation sports game or
contest in which no fantasy or simulation sports team is based on the current
membership of an actual team that is a member of an amateur or professional
sports organization and that meets the following conditions:

(1) All prizes and awards offered to winning participants are established and
made known to the participants in advance of the game or contest and their value
is not determined by the number of participants or the amount of any fees paid
by those participants;

(2) all winning outcomes reflect the relative knowledge and skill of the
participants and are determined predominantly by accumulated statistical results
of the performance of individual athletes in multiple real-world sporting
events; and

(3) no winning outcome is based:

(A) on the score, point spread or any performance or performances of any
single real-world team or any combination of such teams; or

(B) solely on any single performance of an individual athlete in any single
real-world sporting event.”

Question 3: My grandmother plays bingo at charity drives held by her church, but the retirement community where she lives says they can’t hold bingo nights – why would that be?

The reason for this line in the sand separating some bingo games from others
is based on charitable intent.

Basically, for a bingo game to be set up legally under Kansas state law, no
profits can be derived from said game. It all stems from a 2014 ballot
initiative, which voters passed 75% to 25%, which expanded the rights of
non-profit organizations to conduct raffles and bingo games for fundraising
purposes.

That vote compelled legislatures to add an amendment known as Section
§21-6405 to the Kansas Statutes, which opened bingo games to licensed non-profit
organizations (emphasis added):

Participants in any bingo game managed, operated or conducted in accordance
with the laws of the state of Kansas by any bona fide nonprofit religious,
charitable, fraternal, educational or veteran organization licensed to manage,
operate or conduct bingo games under the laws of the state of Kansas and it
shall be conclusively presumed that such sums paid by or for such participants
were intended by such participants to be for the benefit of the sponsoring
organizations for the use of such sponsoring organizations in furthering the
purposes of such sponsoring organizations, as set forth in the appropriate
paragraphs of section 501(c) or (d) of the internal revenue code of 1986 and as
set forth in K.S.A. 79-4701, and amendments thereto.

Thus, your grandmother’s church has obtained a raffle and bingo license from
the state, as the profits generated from its bingo games are classified as
charitable contributions made by the players.

On the other hand, your grandmother’s retirement community is a for-profit
enterprise, which makes it ineligible for charity-based bingo games.

To learn more about the proper procedures for licensing a non-profit bingo
game, check out the Kansas Department of Revenue’s page for its Office of
Charitable Gaming, which oversees the raffle and bingo licensing process: (https://www.ksrevenue.org/bingoraffle.html).

Additional Resources

The task of any teacher is to prepare their students, but we’re not big
believers in the concept of passive learning.

Rather than take our word for it, we encourage you to explore the
interconnected web of state laws governing the gambling industry in the
Sunflower State.

The following link contains a wealth of additional information on issues
like technical legal language, ways players can protect themselves, poker rooms
and the tribal casino industry – so check them out at your leisure and exercise
lifelong learning instead:

Section §21-6043 of the Kansas Statutes (first link) provides various
definitions used to determine gambling-related offenses. Article 15 of the
Kansas Constitution provides the initial basis for bans on lotteries and other
forms of gambling, along with the various amendments put in place to create
today’s more permissive gambling environment.

This FAQ page maintained by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission
specifically addresses any and all questions about social gambling, or
gambling-related crimes, that Kansans have posed over the years. Believe it or
not, the state would rather not punish ordinary citizens for enjoying
wager-based hobbies, so this site provides detailed answers and explanations
about every gambling question under the sun.

The Future and Your Views

As the case of House Bill 2055 demonstrated in 2013, lawmakers in Kansas
aren’t particularly keen on adopting online gambling regulation any time soon.

In fact, the state seems to lean in the other direction, with authorities
attempting to ban the industry altogether – while criminalizing a hobby enjoyed
by tens of thousands of Kansans every day. That’s a shame because the federal
policies which resulted in a blanket ban over online gambling have been roundly
criticized in recent years, forcing a reexamination of the issue across the
board.

So while Congress inches even closer to regulating online casinos, poker
rooms and slot parlors – and states like Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware are
already enjoying bountiful tax revenue from their own local industries – Kansas
seems to be stuck in the proverbial mud.

That can always change, however, especially given a modern crop of political
figures who are largely content to bend whichever way the wind happens to be
blowing at the moment. The immediate years after “Black Friday,” that gave
online gambling a black eye, were rough for the entire industry, which helps to
explain the attempted ban back in 2013.

But times have changed, and the American public is predominately in favor of
allowing players to enjoy gambling over the Internet. Owing to the fact that the
2013 bill did indeed allow for Kansas to enter the online gaming fray, provided
federal legalization is eventually passed, it would stand to reason that
lawmakers in the state can be convinced to reverse course.