Kansas Sports Betting Revenues Hit New Record in December 2023

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December 2023 was a landmark month for sports betting in Kansas. Operators made $20.05 million in gross sports wagering revenue for the month, according to the latest release from the sports betting regulator, the Kansas State Lottery.

That total surpassed the previous high of $14.37 million, set in October.

The total amount wagered, or handle, reached $259.7 million in December, almost matching November’s record of $260.9 million. It also showed a notable 42.7% increase year-on-year. In total, December’s figures brought Kansas’ handle for its first full calendar year of legal wagering to more than $1.163 billion.

Operator hold, which indicates the percentage of wagers kept as revenue, was a decent 11.9%, marking the fourth-highest in the state market so far. This was a significant increase from November’s hold, and the sixth instance in 2023 where the hold reached double digits.

From all that betting activity, the Sunflower State took in $2 million in taxes for December. It marked the first instance since the launch month of September 2022 where the state’s tax receipts exceeded $2 million in a month. This also meant the cumulative taxes for the entire calendar year 2023 reached $6.308 million.

Operators’ Performances

DraftKings maintained its position as the most popular online sportsbook in Kansas, with a handle surpassing $100 million for the third consecutive month, totaling $103.8 million. Its 11.5% hold resulted in $11.9 million in gross winnings.

As usual, close rival FanDuel followed just behind, achieving its best month in Kansas with $10.3 million in gross winnings from an all-time high handle of $86.5 million. BetMGM also stood out with a state-best 17.2% hold in December, claiming $3.9 million in revenue.

The state-wide mobile hold was just below 12%, with six operators collectively claiming $29.8 million in gross revenue from a $249.1 million handle. This performance lifted the full-year hold to 8.8%, as these apps won $177.5 million from $2.03 billion worth of bets.

ESPN Bet also made some advancements in its second month of operation.

The new Penn Entertainment sportsbook narrowly trailed behind third place BetMGM, with a total handle of $22.6 million, a 5% increase from November. Its market share also improved from 8.6% to 9.1%.

Notably, ESPN Bet also reduced its promotional spend by 61%, offering nearly $2.5 million worth of credits, significantly less than the $6.3 million during its mid-November launch. The sportsbook’s long term goal is 20% market share nationally, which is distinctly possible, but looking tough after the initial few month’s figures.

Either way, it is still doing better than its Penn-backed predecessor, Barstool Sports. ESPN Bet also managed to transition over Barstool’s lead among Kansas retail sportsbooks, although that is a much smaller market.

Retail and Mobile Betting Dynamics

On the retail side, the retail ‘books showed near-record performances in December. They also showed strength, holding a combined 10.1% win rate and keeping $1.1 million of the $10.6 million wagered. This performance was second only to the $1.2 million-plus earned in October.

Overall for 2023, retail betting in Kansas took in $94.3 million handle for the year, resulting in $4.9 million in revenues. That’s about 4% of the state’s overall yearly handle, which is actually not bad for retail betting, which in some states makes up less than 1% of the market.

Retail betting on the Kansas City Chiefs, based just across the state lines in Missouri, saw a lot of action in Kansas before their Super Bowl victory last February. That month saw retail sportsbooks post losses of $1.8 million. But it wasn’t enough to cancel out the rest of the year.

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