• The House of the Kansas State Legislature got their first introduction to Senate Bill 84 that would legalize sports betting in on Thursday.
  • Senate Bill 84 has already passed in the Senate and is looking to pass in the House before the session adjourns for 2021 in May.
  • If passed and signed by Governor Laura Kelly, Kansas can expect to see a launch of legal sports wagering in 2022.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas State Legislature held its first hearing for a bill that would legalize sports betting on Thursday. The House Committee on Federal and State Affairs was introduced to Senate Bill 84, a proposal that passed in the Senate on March 3 for a legal sports gaming industry in Kansas.

Multiple parties gave testimony with some who were in favor of the bill, some who were opposed to it, and others that were neutral on the subject. After listening to all of the speakers in attendance the hearing ended without a vote which means another hearing will need to take place to move it out of committee.

What Is Senate Bill 84?

Senate Bill 84 would make sports gaming legal for mobile sportsbooks and land-based locations in Kansas. There is a 5.5% tax on revenue for land-based sports betting venues with an included 2% that would go toward problem gambling programs.

Retail operators would be allotted three skins for mobile sportsbook platforms. These platforms would see a tax rate of 8% on all GGR.  The legal age for sports bettors to engage in the activity is set at 21+.

Betting on professional sports and collegiate sports would be available at sportsbooks statewide.

A launch is stipulated within the bill for 2022, requiring the Kansas Lottery who would regulate the industry to have the structure for the rules and regulations of legal Kansas sports betting set by October 31.

Points Made In The House’s First Meeting

The subject of Greyhound racing played a strong role in Thursday’s meeting. Greyhound racing was banned by amendment from the original draft of KS SB 84 because of the number of people that spoke out against it. However, people requested to keep the amendment while others asked it to be reversed to include Greyhound races in the sports betting industry.

Neutral parties were those that wanted to keep the ban within the bill.

“Opponents of greyhound racing for years has highlighted that it is a dying sport, often sighting and often reported that greyhound racing is banned in 42 states. When in fact many states never had racing to begin with, because they prohibited all pari-mutuel wagering,” said Michael Strickland,  board member for the Kansas Greyhound Association. “Greyhound racing remains legal in 49 states with many states having popular amateur racing and coursing events through various clubs and associations.”

Strickland wants to see Greyhound racing put back into the bill for legalization.

Speaking in favor of legal sports betting in Kansas was Jeff Morris, the Vice President of Public Affairs & Government Relations at Penn National Gaming, Inc. Morris believes that a legal market to gamble on sports would be a welcomed addition.

Penn National is the operator of the Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway and since 2012 his company has contributed over $465 million in revenue taxes to the state.

“We believe legal sports betting has the potential to provide a meaningful shot in the arm to Kansas’ gaming industry and to provide a new revenue stream to the State of Kansas,” said Morris. “If successful, Kansas would join twenty-five other states and Washington, DC that have moved to authorize sports betting in the wake of the May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, or “PASPA”.”

A Look Ahead

Legal sports betting in Kansas is something that has been trying to come to life in the legislature of KS since the repeal of PASPA.

If the House votes favorably, Senate Bill 84 would move to the desk of Governor Laura Kelly for her approval. If amendments are made, another Senate vote would need to take place before the Governor would even see it.

There is no set date for the next meeting within the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs but the legislative session in Kansas closes for 2021 on May 15, giving the House roughly two months to decide how to proceed on the subject for a legal Kansas sports betting market.

News tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | |