Kansas Legislature Sends Sports Betting Bill to Governor

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Kansas Senate approved sports betting early Friday morning and sent the measure to the governor for her consideration.

Gov. Laura Kelly is expected to sign SB 84 to make Kansas the 34th state with legalized sports betting.

The Senate voted 21-13 to approve the bill a day after it rejected the House changes to it on Wednesday. The two chambers met quickly Thursday morning, and hours later, the House cleared the bill with a 73-49 vote.

It comes a day after Missouri Senate saw a pair of sports betting bills die on the floor, thanks to a filibuster of a key senator who wanted to add VLTs to sports betting.

Kansans will soon be able to wager on the Kansas City Chiefs or the University of Kansas Jayhawks.

What will Kansas Sports Betting Look Like?

Under the bill, state casinos can partner with mobile betting platforms, as well as up to 50 retailers to offer sports betting. At least 12 online licenses would be available, with three for each of Kansas’ four casinos. In addition, a casino can have a fourth skin if it partners with a professional sports team.

Currently, the only professional team available in Kansas is Sporting Kansas City – The professional soccer club team based in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The casinos can also have up to 50 commercial partners to place retail betting kiosks.

The Sunflower State will tax sports betting revenue at a flat rate of 10%, which is estimated to generate $10 million in taxes by year three.

The bill earmarks 80% of taxes to attract pro sports teams to Kansas and 2% to problem gambling-related programs.

Kansas Becomes Second State to Legalize This Year

The Kansas Legislature becomes the second to send a legalized sports wagering bill to its governor and the first to legalize an open and competitive market.

Earlier this month, Maine lawmakers approved a limited tribal sports wagering bill that would keep the mobile betting industry away from casinos in the state. Gov. Janet Mills, who masterminded the Maine sports betting bill, has yet to sign the bill.

So far this year, lawmakers in Missouri, Kentucky, and Georgia have failed to legalize sports wagering bills despite having considerable support in each state.

The effort in Kansas was years in the making, with lawmakers in the state’s both chambers finally hammering out a deal earlier this month, though the final proposal was not without controversy.

Not everybody loved the final outcome, with some raising three major issues: the 80% of taxes earmarked for attracting a pro sports team, the lower tax rate (10%), and gambling addiction.

When Do Kansans Expect the Launch?

SB 84, sponsored by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, cleared the House in early April. It requires that Kansas sports betting launch by Jan. 1, 2023, which means the regulator would have to work round the clock to ensure a timely launch.

It should be noted that Kelly has yet to sign the bill.

It takes nearly six months between the legalization and the eventual launch in most states. However, some states have managed to launch faster.

More importantly, Kansas appears to have won the interstate battle with Missouri in legalizing sports betting. Lawmakers across both states wanted to outpace the other in legalizing a ‘friendlier’ market for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chiefs – the Missouri-based professional football team – were rumored to move their stadium across the border from Missouri.

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