Kansas lawmakers are inching closer to approving sports betting legislation, but it comes too late for Sunflower State residents to bet on their Jayhawks in the NCAA Men’s basketball final.
“It’s a missed opportunity,” said Daniel Wallach, a sports betting legal expert, during his podcast Sunday.
The Kansas House passed the conference committee report, essentially compromise legislation, on Senate Bill 84 in the dead of night Friday, 63-49.
Rep. Stephanie Clayton posted a tweet of relief.
— ❄️Stephanie Clayton❄️ (@SSCJoCoKs) April 2, 2022
The bill now goes before the Senate. That chamber is in recess until later this month.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has indicated she will sign the bill.
“I do think we ought to have some sort of sports betting here in the state of Kansas,” she told reporters last week, as reported by the Kansas City Star. “I know so many people who go to Iowa every weekend. I’d like for them to stay here and spend their money in the state of Kansas.”
What Sports Betting In Kansas Will Look Like
It’s been a long road for sports betting in Kansas. The original SB 84 passed the Senate in 2021 but died in the House. Kansas’s legislature operates as a biennium, meaning legislation can hold over from one year to the next if during the same session. The current session ends later this year.
The biggest change to the legislation from the conference committee and subsequent amendments in the House is the establishment of the Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund.
Under the bill now, 80% of sports betting revenue – after disbursements to the White Collar Crime Fund and problem gaming assistance – would go toward attracting a professional sports franchise to Kansas. MLS’ Sporting KC is the only professional team in Kansas at this time. The White Collar Crime Fund aims to help authorities investigate crimes that come about as the result of gambling.
Other provisions of the conference committee report include:
- Allows each of the four casinos in the state to partner with three online sportsbook operators to offer sports betting;
- Taxes revenue from both mobile and retail sports betting at 10%;
- Allows for sports betting on professional and collegiate events, including in-state college games;
- Approves prop bets and other forms of wagers;
- Sets a minimum age to wager at 21.
Kansas And Missouri Lawmakers Go Down To The Wire
The effort to bring sports betting to Kansas took off in 2022 after it became clear Missouri was addressing the issue.
“Kansas [approval] would be a quick turnaround,” Mike Lawson, Wallach’s co-host on the podcast noted.
During the debate Friday and even during committee hearings earlier in the week, many lawmakers cited the efforts of Missouri lawmakers as a motivating source.
Wallach and Lawson predicted both states would ultimately pass sports betting and have it up and running perhaps as early as the fall.
And while this is good news for sports fans, state Rep. Francis Awerkamp, said during the debate Friday night it’s bad news for Kansans.
“From my perspective, this is written for the casinos, by the casinos, and of the casinos. Everything in it is a sweetheart deal for them,” he said, as reported by The Kansas Reflector.