A day after stalling in a House committee, the Kansas sports betting bill passed through the state’s lower chamber last Wednesday.
Kansas House of Representatives approved SB 84 by a 88-36 vote Wednesday afternoon after being amended with key elements from HB 2740. The legislation now heads to a conference committee for both chambers to work out a final plan for Kansas sports betting.
SB 84 would legalize mobile sports betting and retail wagering.
It comes a day after the House Federal and State Affairs Committee dramatically ended a meeting that was supposed to vote and move HB 2740 to the House floor for voting. The online lottery-related disagreement led to the abrupt adjournment of the meeting without a vote Tuesday.
The House pulled the issue to the floor Wednesday morning, where Rep. John Barker added the language from HB 2470 into SB 84 – which Senate had approved last year.
Tuesday’s adjournment had cast doubts about the Kansas sports betting future. But Wednesday saw dramatic changes, depicting the Kansas lawmakers’ willingness to regulate sports betting sooner than later.
The amendment to have SB 84 borrow the contents of HB 2740 turned things dramatically. It helped move the contents of the debated measure forward while bypassing any further committee roadblocks.
SB 84, which had been cleared through the Senate in 2021, was incorporated in HB 2740 on Wednesday through an amendment. It brought a favorable result, with 88 Representatives voting for it while 36 opposed the measure. It essentially means that legal sports betting is coming to Kansas.
If finalized by the Senate and the House, SB 84 would regulate retail and online sports betting in the Sunflower State.
The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission – which already oversees the state’s casinos – would also regulate the sports betting industry. The bill allows bets on both professional and collegiate sporting events, allowing Kansas University fans to wager on the Jayhawks.
As the two chambers have passed two different versions of SB 84, both must iron out their difference and produce one final proposal before sending it to Gov. Laura Kelly.
During Wednesday’s meeting, Barker said the House and Senate must settle on tax rates. The House version proposes a 20% tax on mobile sports betting and a 14% tax on retail betting. The Senate version includes an 8% tax on mobile betting and a 5.5% tax on retail wagering.
Another couple of amendments see more support for problem gaming that cleared through the House – including one that earmarks 2% of tax revenue from sports wagering to the state problem gambling fund.
Rep. Vic Miller believed its’s time the Sunflower State joined the rest of the nation in moving in the direction, adding that it “doesn’t really do us any good to stand still.” He said that the lack of regulation will keep money leaking out of the state, which will benefit other states at the expense of Kansas.
In 2021, the Kansas Senate approved a bill to allow the state’s four casinos mobile and retail sports betting, with up to three mobile skins each. But the House failed to reach an agreement, delaying the sports betting legalization in Kansas to this year.
The fresh House bill includes the casino aspects from last year, and also expands marketing agreements between casinos and local retailers. Besides, a casino operator can also seek an additional mobile skin in partnership with a professional sports team in Kansas.
Sen. Rob Olson is ready to take up the legalization issue from the Senate side. Sports betting was among the top six legislative issues in Kansas in 2022, according to a report published by the Topeka Capital Journal.
It should be mentioned here that Kansas Native American tribes could also renegotiate their gaming compacts to add sports betting offerings. The state tribes own six casinos.
Be the first to know when new states legalize online gambling and gain access to exclusive casino and sports betting promotional offers.