KANSAS CITY, Kan. — According to oddsmakers, the AFC Championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals is currently a toss-up.
The shifting line is something certainly being watched by potential bettors in Kansas during the first NFL playoffs with legalized sports betting in the state.
Most of the betting is happening on apps, but the in-person experience is really pushing the foot traffic at the Hollywood Casino at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway.
The way casino staff explains it is that people want to be around like-minded individuals, so at their Barstool Sportsbook area, excitement is spiking with the Chiefs still in the mix.
“Opened at +1 for the Chiefs as the favorites. You know, they’re 3-0 against us with Mahomes and Joe Burrow. So I think it’s about time we go for the win,” Chiefs fan Ryan Karlson said.
“I’m from Washington state and they don’t legally have live sporting bets right now, or in Oregon. So since I took a trip to the game out here on Saturday, I’m doing some work and pleasure and I thought I’d take advantage of it before I fly out tomorrow,” Karlson said.
Tyrone Myrick, Vice President of Marketing for Hollywood Casino and Argosy Casino, anticipates as many as 500 people watching from the Barstool Sportsbook area this weekend.
“So if the game starts at, I think, 5:30 – you probably need to be here at about 3:30,” Myrick said.
“Most bets come closer to game time as more player information comes out,” he said.
“If there is somebody who we’re expecting to play but doesn’t end up playing or vice versa, that affects it. And obviously the higher or more popular that player is, that’s how it adjusts. So, as an example, there’s a lot talking about Mahomes right now in terms of playing or not playing,” Myrick said.
The first legal bet in the state, made by Governor Laura Kelly at Hollywood Casino, is also still in the mix With Kelly betting on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl.
Other fans are hopeful yet sheepish.
“I’m actually doing really well in Sportsbook. I don’t bet the Chiefs because I don’t bet with my heart. Otherwise, I’d take them all the time. And I would have lost, right? I wouldn’t have covered the spread. So it’s always been a rule of mine, never to bet with your team,” Karlson said.
The Chiefs are currently one-point underdogs on most betting sites, in large-part due to the injury to Mahomes.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a gambling problem, help is available.
Find resources from the Kansas Behavioral Health Services, Kansas Gambling Help, or call the National Problem Gambling Helpline Network at 1-800-522-4700.