Prairie Band Casino and Resort in Kansas has made history by becoming the state’s inaugural tribal casino to introduce a sportsbook. This launch follows extensive negotiations between the Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe, state authorities, and the US Department of the Interior, subsequent to Kansas legalizing sports betting in 2022.
Zeke Rupnick, the Chairperson of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, emphasized the collaborative effort required to secure this amenity. He credited the cooperation with Governor Laura Kelly and state legislators for amending their compact, ensuring tribal casinos stood on equal footing with other gaming establishments across Kansas.
“I think when the state first went with sports betting tribes weren’t really considered in that and then we had to go back and amend the law to allow us to amend our compact with the state,” Rupnick added.
The most recent data from the Sunflower State regarding sports betting indicates over $43 million in revenue was generated during the last fiscal year, with a portion of $4 million contributing back to the state.
At the official sportsbook opening on Thursday, Rupnick made the inaugural bet, placing $20 on the University of Kansas (KU) Jayhawks to win the National Championship, citing confidence in KU’s prowess and a family connection. This symbolic act marked the commencement of sports wagering at the resort.
The casino’s sportsbook features a dedicated sports lounge where patrons can watch games and relax while placing bets using gaming kiosks. Chris Garrow, the Director of Gaming, highlighted the uniqueness of their sportsbook, being locally owned and operated, a departure from commercially-run competitors. Notably, all revenue from sports betting will contribute to supporting the tribal community.
Garrow hinted at potential future developments, suggesting that the initial setup might just be the beginning, with possible expansions or enhancements in the future.
In September last year, sports betting services provider Kambi Group signed a sports betting partnership with Prairie Band Casino & Resort to support the launch of the first tribal sportsbook in the state of Kansas. It followed approval earlier last year from authorities for an on-site sports betting facility at the casino, which sits on tribal land close to Topeka.