Kansas Passes Sports Betting Legislation, Gov. Kelly Expected To Sign Into Law

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Wagering on in-state colleges is allowed under Kansas' sports betting legislation (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

At the end of the day, Kansas beat Missouri to the finish line of legalizing sports betting

The Kansas House and Senate have both passed a conference committee report on Senate Bill 84, sending the legislation to Governor Laura Kelly. Kelly, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill. 

This is an excellent economic development tool, and plus, we need a little fun in Kansas.” state Rep. Stephanie Clayton, one of the leading proponents of the bill, tweeted on Thursday.

The bill passed the House 73-49 on Thursday afternoon. The Senate followed suit in the wee hours of Friday morning, 21-13.

Missouri lawmakers abruptly sent sports betting legislation back to the committee level earlier this week when the Senate declined to take up House Bill 2502. Its prospects for passage this year remain unclear. 

Highlights Of Kansas Sports Betting Bill

Kansas was on few radars at the beginning of the year as a possible state to approve sports betting

But the final version brings mobile and retail sports betting to the Sunflower State. The Kansas Lottery and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will have oversight of the industry. Among the other provisions included in the bill:

  • 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%;
  • Excludes bonuses offered to customers from taxable gaming revenue;
  • 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;
  • Establishes the Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund.

Sports Betting As Means To Lure Chiefs

It’s the last point from the above list that called into question whether the bill would pass. 

The provision, which was added at the 11th hour during House debate last month, is aimed at attracting the Kansas City Chiefs, or other professional sports teams, away from Missouri. 

The bill calls for 80% of the tax revenue from sports betting, after monies allocated to the White Collar Crime Fund and the state’s problem gambling fund, to go toward attracting professional teams. Kansas has only one professional team,  Sporting KC of the MLS.

“Missouri needs to take notice,” state Sen. Rob Olson of Olathe told KSHB-41. “We want to give the opportunities to franchises if they want to move across the line and be in Kansas.”

Under the revised conference committee report, worked out in less than 24 hours between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, the fund will be administered by the Kansas Secretary of Commerce.   

The Secretary of Commerce for Kansas is David Toland, who also serves as the state’s lieutenant governor. 

When Will Sports Betting Be Operational In Kansas?

The legislation sets an ambitious timeline to get sports betting up and running in Kansas. 

Under the terms of the bill, the state lottery director needs to establish the submission process for applications by Sept. 1, 2022. The KRGC director is required to determine the background investigation process for platforms by Aug. 1, 2022. In turn, it needs to begin those background checks no later than Aug. 15, 2022.  

Additionally, the bill mandates that sports wagering be up and running no later than Jan. 1, 2023. 

If all goes well, it’s possible Kansans could place bets on the Super Bowl in 2023.  

But some lawmakers are looking long-term. Their thinking is that if the Chiefs decide to bail on Missouri and come across the Missouri River, the Super Bowl could come to a new stadium in Kansas at some point. 

About the Author

Mary M. Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.

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