WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s a major weekend in the NFL to determine who will play in the Superbowl. This is the first season Kansans have been able to bet on games.
Kansas officials pushed to launch sports betting in September 2022 ahead of the football season.
“Our projections, I guess you’d say from last year during session were actually maybe a little conservative. We’re doing a little better than what our projections said we would make at this point,” said Cory Thone, Kansas Lottery public information officer.
With that comes a rise in those reaching out for help with gambling addiction.
“We’ve noticed, to the helpline stats, that there’s been a 9.5% increase in calls between April and December of last year,” said Stephenie Roberts, Chairman of South Central of Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force.
Roberts says while resources are available, many do not know about them.
“This is a new thing coming in. There should have been preventive advertisements going out there. The only advertising going out is coming from the little budgets that the task force has received from grants,” she explained.
In the first four months, the sunflower state earned more than $2 million in revenue.
“The first $750,000 go to the white-collar crime fund. Then after that, of the money that’s transferred to the state, 80% of it goes into attracting of a professional sports team to Kansas fund, 18% goes to the state general fund, and then 2% goes to problem gambling initiatives,” Thone explained.
“Too much comes out before it actually gets into services for problem gambling,” Roberts said.
Roberts says some lawmakers are working to change how they distribute funds.
“You know, there’s money out there. It just has to be allocated more appropriately. So that it helps prevent this from becoming a statewide issue,” she said.
The task force chairman says it’s important to only spend what you can afford to lose.
If you or someone needs help, you can reach out to the Problem Gambling Helpline at 800-522-4700.