A sports betting bill was introduced Tuesday in the Kansas state Senate that could see up to 12 legal online sports betting options.
The proposed legislation would allow each of the state’s four commercial casinos to open a retail sportsbook at their facilities and partner with up to three online providers each, Action Network reports. The state’s Native American gaming tribes could also renegotiate their government compacts to offer sports betting as well.
The Kansas Speedway in Kansas City would also be able to open a designated sports betting area for online wagering but would not be allowed to take in-person wagers. The track is adjacent to the Hollywood Casino, which would be able to take in-person bets under this bill.
This is the first 2021 sports betting bill introduced following several failed efforts to legalize wagering in previous years. A 2020 proposal seemed well-positioned to pass but was derailed and ultimately killed as lawmakers scrambled to deal with larger issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Kansas Lottery, which operates the state’s four commercial casinos, would have sports betting oversight under the 2021 bill. Some lawmakers pitched Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission oversight in a 2020 proposal, and it remains to be seen whether or not backers will introduce a follow-up bill in 2021. Oversight divisions are one of many issues elected officials will have to negotiate as the bill begins the long legislative process, including tax rate and licensing eligibility.
Senate Bill 84 would levy a 7.5% tax for in-person sports bets and a 10% rate for online wagers, both below the median rate charged in the roughly two-dozen states with legal wagering. No initial or annual licensing fees were specifically mentioned in the original bill.
There are no codified collegiate betting prohibitions in the bill, meaning Kansas bettors could wager on popular out-of-state and in-state college programs such as the University of Kansas and Kansas State University men’s basketball teams. However, the bill would allow regulators to limit offerings under its discretion.
Like in every other state with legal wagering, officials would have to promulgate and finalize follow-up rules before wagering begins. The law requires regulators to complete that process on or before Oct. 31, 2021.
Bettors would need to be at least 21 years old to place a mobile bet and be physically located within state lines. There was no language regarding an in-person sign-up, meaning eligible bettors could register, deposit and wager from anywhere in the state. The legislation would also create a voluntary sports betting self-exclusion list.
The bill was introduced by the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, which now has jurisdiction over the bill. The committee is not scheduled to discuss the proposal this week but could do so as early as next month. Should the bill pass the initial committee, it would likely have to go through further committees and then a vote before the full Senate floor.
Should the Senate pass the bill, the House would also have to agree to an identical version, which would then be sent to Gov. Laura Kelly for her signature to pass into law.