Kansas is close to have state regulated sports betting.

  • Sports betting in Kansas may become a reality as a bill for the activity makes it to the Senate hearing floor.
  • The current bill in question looks to be a very favorable bill in terms of lawmakers liking the components it brings to the table.
  • The hearing had a few minor suggestions from what they heard but overall the outcome could be good for sports bettors in Kansas.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee in Kansas discussed the topic of legalized sports betting on Wednesday.

A lobbyist and gambling advocate Ryan Soultz took the Senate floor to speak on the issue of both retail and internet sportsbooks. Soultz is a representative of both the Kansas Star Casino and the Boyd Gaming Corporation.

The meeting was cut short on Wednesday by Committee Chairman Bud Estes, however, a sense of positivity carried on into the hearing’s conclusion on Thursday morning.

The Bill In The Spotlight

The bill receiving Senate attention is KS SB 283. This bill encompasses all of the best aspects for a successful legal sports betting venture. It requires a 7.5% tax on revenue from retail sports wagering lounges and a 10% tax from online platforms. No in-person sign up would be required for sports bettors in Kansas to use mobile applications.

“We have found that sports betting has become an effective new customer acquisition tool, particularly when we are able to offer mobile wagering,”  said Jeff Morris, a lobbyist with Penn National Gaming that operates the Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway.

Tribal casinos in the state would be allowed to obtain sportsbook licenses with a separate agreement they would need to receive from Governor Laura Kelly. The four commercial casinos in the state would be granted two licenses a piece which would allow them to not only offer a sports betting lounge but two internet sportsbooks as well.

The Kansas Lottery would regulate the market for legal sports wager operations. If by July 2022 less than two casinos use their internet sportsbook licenses, the lottery would be allowed to step in and offer internet sports betting for gamblers in the state as a sole operator.

Under this bill there are no required royalty fees for professional teams and the legal age to engage in the activity is set at 21 years old. The four casinos in the state were at the hearing speaking in favor of legalization.

Tweaks Requested By The Committee

After hearing KS SB 283, before adjournment, there were a few tweaks that were spoken about. Tribal casinos would like to be included within the bill rather than need separate permission granted to them by the Governor.

All greyhound racing done in other states should be banned to wager on by those in Kansas even if they are televised. That amendment idea came from the Humane Society Legislative Fund of Kansas.

The final changes suggested were in terms of taxes. Taxes should be earmarked for specific categories rather than a general economic fund. The Unified Government of Wyandotte County was in favor of legalizing the bill if they added an amendment that said between 2 and 3 percent of revenue go toward local government operations.

Another suggestion came from the National Council on Problem Gambling which would like to see 1% of revenue go toward treatment services for gambling addiction.

Currently, the committee has not yet made decisions on the issue but legalization of sports betting in Kansas looks favorable. The requested amendments are doable and the bill has all the factors for success. Estimates show Kansas seeing as much as $50 million in annual revenue should lawmakers make the pastime legal. Legislative sessions end May 31.

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