Kansas Sports Betting Bill Introduced Once Again
The Kansas Sports Betting Bill has been introduced once again today, Tuesday 2/2/2021, as SB84 in the Kansas Senate. The bill is quite similar to the 2020 Senate Bill that passed out of the Senate but failed to get a hearing in the House as Covid-19 issues interrupted the legislative session. If the Senate passes the bill, it will have to go to the House. Last year, the House had an alternative Bill, and it was easy to see that there was a central disagreement between the two legislative bodies as to which entity would be dominant in the sports betting industry.
The question is, who will be allowed to run a sportsbook in Kansas? Will it be the casinos, as favored by the Senate or the Kansas State Lottery, or a combination of the two?
There is no doubt that since the United States Supreme Court struck down a law that forbids sportsbooks that many states have passed laws enabling their States to profit from legal sports betting. Although the Midwest has been the slowest region to allow legal sports bets, Colorado, a maverick in the legalization of highly taxable recreational activities, has a huge sports betting market that has earned almost $1.2 billion since going online in May. It is hard to ignore this alternative revenue source that States sorely needs, especially given the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
SB84 was introduced by the Federal and State Affairs Committee. It is currently still in committee and is the third session in which Kansas lawmakers have tried to capture the lucrative sportsbook retail market and is expected to be on the docket to discuss the proposal next month. This year they have proposed that each of the four casinos would be able to run three skins or sportsbooks each. Under the proposed legislation, people could place in-person or online bets through casino apps.
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The casinos include Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas Crossing Casino, and Hotel in Pittsburg, and Kansas Star Casino, which operates in Mulvane. Additionally, the legislation recognizes that the five tribal casinos may be allowed to run sports betting once they renegotiate their contracts with the State. Under this bill, the Kansas Lottery would regulate all online and retail sports betting. The Kansas Speedway, which holds NASCAR races in May and October of 2021, would take sports betting online with all in-person bets accepted at the Hollywood Casino that operates next-door.
The bill has been generating lots of Buzz. It would enable people to bet on college sports also as long as the person wagering the bet is over 21. This bill would be lucrative for Kansas’s State, putting many a black market bookie out of work. The bill proposes a 7.5% tax for in-person sports bets and a 10% tax for online. So far, the House has not introduced another Bill. Thus, if both houses pass it, it would be sent to the Governor for approval and then signed into law.