Kansas Gives Sports Betting Another Try with Senate Bill

Kansas Gives Sports Betting Another Try with Senate Bill
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Kansas is making another attempt to legalize sports betting.

State Senate Bill 84, introduced this week by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs, is almost identical to a proposal introduced last year except that each lottery manager would now be allowed to operate three skins rather than two.

Kansas has four commercial casinos — Boot Hill Casino (Dodge City), Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway (Kansas City), Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel (Pittsburg) and Kansas Star Casino (Mulvane). Three skins would be assigned to each, totaling 12 skins overall, according to the bill.

The state also has five tribal casinos, and under the proposal they would be able to renegotiate their compacts to include sports betting.

Online and retail sports betting would be offered and regulated by the Kansas Lottery under the Senate bill. No House bill has been filed as of Friday.

As states look to find new revenue streams, many are looking to sports betting. Colorado, a neighbor to the west, has a thriving sports betting market that was launched on May 1. It has taken nearly $1.2 billion in wagers since it went live.

Missouri, to the east of Kansas, will again consider sports betting legislation this session. Nebraska is looking to add casinos after voters approved in November and it’s possible the law could include sports betting. Oklahoma, to the south, has tribal compacts to consider before expanding its gaming options.

Some other details of SB 84:

  • The bill would place a 7.5% tax for in-person sports bets and a 10% rate for online wagers, which compares favorably with the rates in some of the top states with legal sports betting. Local taxes would vary depending on where the casino is located. There is an application fee of $250,000, but other licensing fees were not addressed in the bill.
  • The Kansas Speedway in Kansas City will hold two NASCAR events in 2021, in May and October. The track could also open a designated sports betting area for online wagering, but would not be allowed to take in-person wagers, according to the bill. The Hollywood Casino next to the track could take in-person bets, though.
  • The bill allows for college sports betting, both in-state and out-of-state events. Betting on the University of Kansas and Kansas State University sports would be allowed, along with other Division I programs.
  • You need to be 21 or older to place a bet in Kansas.

What’s Next for the Senate Bill?

The bill is currently with the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs. It will likely meet early next month for further discussion and review. Should the bill pass through committee, it could face additional review by other committees before a vote in the full Senate.

The State House would also have to agree on the bill and, if both chambers approve, it would be sent to Gov. Laura Kelly.

State officials would have to finalize regulations before any bets are placed. The law would require regulators to complete rules on or before Oct. 31.