Is Online Poker Legal in Kansas?

Online poker is not specified in Kansas as being legal or illegal. Casinos however are legal. The casinos in Kansas are owned and operated by Native American tribes. This was authorized by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 and then finalized by compacts between the tribes and the state government. There are five tribes that operate full-fledged casinos: Wyandotte Nation, Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas, Sac & Fox Nation of Missouri in Kansas, Iowa Tribe of Kansas & Nebraska, and Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation.

The state’s first foray into legal gambling, however, was in 1986 when voters approved a constitutional amendment to authorize the state lottery. That state lottery then expanded several years later to include keno as well. And in 2004, the Kansas Lottery launched an online game associated with the lottery.

In 2007, the state legislature passed Senate Bill 66, which created the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act. This allowed the lottery to own and operate four full-fledged casino/resorts, complete with slot machines, table games, and electronic games like video poker. The legislation also allowed racetracks to install electronic gaming machines.

The casinos allowed by that law had to be approved by the counties in which the lottery wanted to operate them, and there are four built and opened through 2017.

Latest Developments Regarding Online Poker in Kansas

There have been no efforts in the state of Kansas to legalize and regulate online poker. Despite the presence of numerous casinos in the state, none have expressed a public interest in working toward any sort of online presence for their games. This is likely due to the fact that the four non-tribal casinos are run by the state itself, and the tribal casinos do not care to take their games to the internet.

Overall, Kansas appears to be one of the least likely states in America to pursue any type of formal online poker regulations in the near future, even as more states around the country do consider such legislation.

Kansas Laws Pertinent to Online Poker

The Kansas Statute puts gambling in Chapter 21, and then it addresses it in detail in Article 64, entitled “Crimes Against Public Morals.” It is listed between obscenity and cruelty to animals.

The actual definition of gambling is simply “making a bet or entering or remaining in a gambling place with intent to make a bet, to participate in a lottery or to play a gambling device.”  It includes everything from lottery to bingo, but the term “bet” is one that seems pertinent to online poker, as it 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.” However, poker is not specified as a game of chance or skill in this section.

The subsequent sections discuss bingo, commercial gambling, gambling devices, and installing communications facilities for gamblers. The latter is somewhat convoluted but includes:

  • Installing communication facilities in a place of gambling.
  • Installing communication facilities to be used for transmitting gambling or betting information.
  • Allowing such facilities for transmitting information to be used in making or settling bets.

For legal table gamesin regulated and licensed casino establishments, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission explains everything in great detail. That same website explains that illegal gambling focuses solely on unsanctioned lotteries.

The FAQ section gives a bit more information about illegal gambling and the commission’s role in it. “The KRGC is the state’s coordinating agency for most questions and complaints regarding illegal gambling.” It goes on to say that it works with the Kansas Lottery, Department of Revenue, and other agencies to seek “compliance from individuals and businesses on illegal gaming issues.”

One question seems to pertain to social gambling or home-game-type poker rooms. Consideration is discussed as a “commercial or financial advantage to the promotor or a disadvantage to any participant,” also known as paying to play a game. One of the examples given specifically cites a poker room that allows players to compete for free but must stand up to play unless they rent a chair, which is “consideration.” Further, “the person who paid chair rental and played poker for the chance to win a prize committed the crime of gambling, and the poker room owner committed the crime of commercial gambling.”

Nothing in Kansas law or in KRGC regulations discusses online poker or other online table or casino games.

 Disclaimer:  This is not written by an attorney and is not or should not be construed as legal advice. Please consult an attorney for help interpreting these laws as they pertain to any given situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  Has anyone ever been arrested for playing online poker from Kansas?

Answer:  No. Kansas officials have never even expressed an interest in pursuing online poker players or operators in any fashion. Even if the state should decide to look into the operators that offer online poker to its residents, they likely wouldn’t have the jurisdiction to take any investigation toward prosecution, and players are not ever likely to be targeted.

Question:  Which sites offer online poker to Kansas players?

Answer:  There are several sites available to players in Kansas. Bovada and Ignition Poker are two of the most well-known sites, as they are affiliated with Bodog. Intertops is quite popular with many players in the US, and BetOnline is becoming more popular as well.

Question:  How would I deposit and withdraw from those sites?

Answer:  Each site has its own deposit and withdrawal options. Deposits can often be made by credit cards, but the most common method for new players is bitcoin, as it is a quick and efficient way to deposit, and players can withdraw via bitcoin as well. The only other way to withdraw from these sites is to order a check by courier.

Gaming Resources in Kansas