Headed to conference committee

Kansas' full House passes sports betting bill with bipartisan support

Kansas State Capitol.
2022-03-31
United States
Reading time 1:32 min

After failing to pass out of the committee, the sports betting legalization bill in Kansas came back from the dead as it passed the full House Wednesday with broad, bipartisan support. 

There is still light on the road to legalization for the sports betting bill in the state thanks to a late-in-the-legislative-year-session, which resulted in Wednesday's greenlight allowing for sports gambling through casino managers contracted by the Kansas Lottery, and for bets to be placed in-person or on approved platforms. 

The state would receive 14% from wagers placed in casinos and 20% for online bets. Casinos could also reach agreements with professional sports teams and offer betting at their stadiums. 

Lawmakers made several changes to the bill as it was written to allow for more resources and help people with gambling addictions. 

As reported by KWCH, Rep. Vic Miller spoke about the bill and said: “The rest of the country is moving this direction. It doesn’t really do us any good to stand still other than it lets money leak out of the state and others around the country make money”. 

The bill next heads to the conference committee where senators and representatives will work out differences between the two versions of the bill. One of the biggest differences is what the state would collect in taxes. Lawmakers adjourn the regular legislative session Friday in Topeka. 

When the bill was presented, the Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony in support of the bill from three state casinos, a tribal casino, the Sporting Kansas City soccer team and a lobbyist for billionaire Las Vegas casino owner, Phil Ruffin, who intends to resurrect operations at his now closed Sedgwick County Racetrack. His support came as the bill would allow wagering machines at his facility, but would ban machines at greyhound races. 

The only opponents to offer testimony back then were concerned by restrictions placed on greyhound racing. Animal rights and gambling addiction organizations expressed concerns while asking for their testimony to be considered neutral. 

In 2021, the Kansas Senate approved sports betting but under a proposal that limited live, online and app wagering to four state-owned casinos, which are operated by private companies under contracts with the lottery. The legislation stalled as there was no consensus between the two chambers. 

 

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