Kansas Sports Betting Bill Underscores Region’s Potential

Kansas Sports Betting Bill Underscores Region’s Potential

The Midwestern United States is poised to usher in the next wave of American sports betting. Kansas wants to make sure it’s a part of the action.

Kansas lawmakers will re-introduce a sports betting legalization bill in the 2019 session, the Kansas City Fox affiliate reports. The bill follows up on a similar effort in this year’s session and highlights the state’s commitment to sports betting.

Along with similar momentum from neighboring Missouri, Kansas is another likely candidate for legalized sports betting as part of a larger trend in the region overall.

State Rep. Jan Kessinger has spearheaded efforts in Topeka. He has proposed online and mobile betting as part of broader legislative efforts.

Speaking to Fox 4 in Kansas City, he said he wants sports betting to expand through the state lottery and be offered at any sports bar that offers state-sanctioned keno games.

"I think one of the keys to the success of sports betting in Kansas would be to make it accessible widespread. Some people say, 'Oh, let`s just have it at the casinos.' You can`t have sports betting at just four locations in Kansas.”

In a best-case scenario, sports betting could come to the Sunflower State as soon as July 1 of next year. There are a multitude of issues to resolve in the statehouse before any bill is passed, including regulations and taxes, but the public support is another sign sports betting has backing among legislators.

If Kansas does take a bet next year, it likely won’t be alone.

Midwest Looks to Expand Sports Betting

With the exception of Nevada, which had legal sports betting for decades before the federal ban was an enacted, the Mid-Atlantic has been the hotbed for gambling expansion. The Midwest is positioned to be the next region to take advantage of this new opportunity.

New Jersey, Delaware and West Virginia are taking legal bets now. Pennsylvania and Rhode Island are set to do so in the coming months, and New York and Washington D.C. could do so sometime in 2019. After them, a host of Midwestern states have introduced or plan to introduce sports betting bills by the start of next year.

  • Ohio: A bipartisan pair of lawmakers have introduced a placeholder bill for the 2019 session. Though short on details, it means legislators will at least discuss the issue in Columbus next year.
  • Indiana: After commissioning a study on the feasibility of sports betting, elected officials in an exploratory committee unanimously approved further discussion in Indianapolis next year. Indiana is a leading candidate to take a bet sometime next year.
  • Illinois: The Land of Lincoln is also advancing a sports betting bill. A version introduced earlier this year was discussed in Springfield, and with the federal ban lifted, an updated, more thorough incarnation is expected to receive significant attention in a state with one of the nation’s most dire budget situations.
  • Iowa: Multiple legislators have come out in support of a sports betting bill, as has the state’s casino industry and lottery. Hawkeye State lawmakers will likely take up a bill sometime in 2019.

Other states outside the east coast, including Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana could also all take bets within the next 12 months. With the wave of sports betting bills spreading westward, it’s no surprise Kansas would join the growing tide.

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