Kansas Sports Betting Issue On Dual Track

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Kansas is working sports betting bills through both sides of its state legislature this week in an effort to legalize sportsbooks before state legislators go home in May. 

First on the agenda was an amended Senate proposal passed by the upper chamber on March 3 on a vote of 26-12. That bill arrived in the House on March 10, about a week before yesterday’s discussion on the proposal in a House committee. 

At the same time as that committee debated the Senate proposal, a new House sports-wagering bill was introduced in the lower chamber and referred to the same committee. 

That creates an interesting dynamic as state legislators attempt to get a single proposal through both chambers before they return home in May.

What’s In The Senate Proposal

The Senate proposal would run sports wagering through Kansas casinos under contract with the state lottery. The casinos, as “sports betting managers,” would be allowed to accept bets in-person, online, or by lottery-approved mobile apps from those physically in-state when their bets are made. 

Each casino would be limited to three sports-wagering platforms (e.g., FanDuel, William Hill, etc.). Casinos could enter into sports-betting contracts with auto race tracks and major athletic complexes located in Kansas City — and Kansas City only — to offer sports wagering through kiosks, online, or by mobile. 

Single-game, teaser, totals, moneyline, exchange, in-play, in-game, prop, and straight wagers would all be legal, as would parlays and pools. 

What’s In The House Proposal

The House proposal would legalize straight in-state, lottery-run Kansas sports betting through online or mobile platforms, with sportsbooks available at Kansas-based professional sports team facilities. 

Bets could be opened for any professional or collegiate sports or athletic event, motor racing event, or other special events that haven’t happened before bets are placed. Not eligible for sports betting under the proposal are horse or greyhound races, and any interscholastic sports from the high-school level or below. 

Single, partial, or combo wagers would be allowed under the House bill, as would prop bets. 

What’s Next

Legislators return next week to resume their work, which could include action on either of the proposals now in the House. Supporters of the lottery model have made it clear that they think that proposal is the best possible state revenue maker. Casino-based sports betting advocates say more competition means a better sports betting market. 

One thing appears certain at this point: Gov. Laura Kelly is likely to sign either proposal into law. She has been in favor of legalizing sports betting since 2019. 

About the Author

Rebecca Hanchett

Rebecca Hanchett is a political writer based in Kentucky's Bluegrass region and covers legislative developments at Gaming Today. She worked as a public affairs specialist for 23 years at the Kentucky State Capitol. A University of Kentucky grad, she has been known to watch UK basketball from time to time.

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