Hollywood Casino at Kansas Raceway

  • Kansas heard more testimony for Senate Bill 84 that would make retail and internet sports wagering legal.
  • Amendments were requested to be ready for the bill by February 24 when a vote will be taken.
  • Senate Bill 84 has seen mostly favorable discussions with only a handful of opposing views that are looking to be taken care of by way of amendments.

TOPEKA, Kan. – On Wednesday, the KS Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee was introduced to Senate Bill 84 which would make land-based and mobile sports betting in Kansas legal. This marked the second straight day of hearing proponents and opponents stance on the issue.

Those behind the bill were given the chance to speak on their reasonings for backing the legislation.

On Thursday, the same committee heard from parties that were either neutral to a legal sports betting market in Kansas or opposed to one.

After discussing the topic for almost an hour, it was concluded that the proposal would need to undergo amendments before its next hearing which was scheduled for February 24. At that time, the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee will hear the amended draft of the bill and put it to a vote.

Senate Bill 84 Sessions

Senate Bill 84 has had generally favorable reviews from lawmakers after its initial two readings. There is a 7.5% tax rate on all GGR generated by brick-and-mortar facilities and a 10% rate set for mobile sportsbook applications.

No official league data is required because many of the operators that want to enter a Kansas sports betting market are already using official league data provided by BetGenius and Sportradar. Sponsors believe operators can figure out the details on this for their betting lines on an individual basis.

Under the bill, it was noted that horse racing is listed as sports betting which is atypical for the industry as each are usually their own sectors of the gambling market. This has led the proposal to call for both the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC) and the Kansas Lottery Corporation (KLC) to work in unison as regulators of the sports wagering industry in the state.

The KRGC would be in charge of advertisements of sportsbooks and implementing the self-exclusion program. The lottery would serve to regulate all other aspects of sports betting in Kansas.

Pro sporting organizations and gambling locations in the state would have the ability to partner with a sportsbook operator to offer mobile sportsbook platforms where they’d be eligible to have up to three operators each as is detailed within KS SB 84.

Representatives from Penn National, Boyd Gaming, DraftKings, and FanDuel all agreed in testimony given on Wednesday that mobile sports wagering is important for Kansas and its potential industry to remain competitive and relevant for sports bettors.

Strictly land-based venues are becoming antiquated as the internet and mobile applications grow in popularity in a modern age of technology and convenience not to mention COVID-19.

Thursday’s hearing heard testimony requesting the amendments that are expected to be seen in about two weeks during the next discussion of Senate Bill 84.

It was requested that although Greyhound Races have been prohibited from wagers in Kansas that the proposal go a step further and ensure that Kansans do not wager on these races through any other neighboring state outlets.

A request for a study on gambling addiction was made as well as extra funding that would be put toward programs to help addicts. On top of this, OTB and racetracks are requesting to be fully included in both retail and mobile sports betting although at this point the tracks are closed because of COVID-19.

These amendments will be taken into consideration and changes to the bill will be made and read on February 24 where the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee will vote on KS SB 84 to see whether or not it will move forward toward legalization.

Lawmakers in Kansas believe it is not a question of “if” Kansas will make sports betting a legal industry but “when” and the question of it being 2021 is what currently hangs in the balance.

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