Kansas Senate Passes Bill to Move Sports Betting Forward

Court Gavel
While the Kansas Senate has been back-and-forth on sports betting for the past few months, they came together on Wednesday for the first time and finally passed the bill forward. Bill SB 283 passed 23-15.

This is a major advancement for the Sunflower state, but it wasn’t done easily. The debate went on for over four hours. Hot topics of discussion were where the revenue would go, and how it would be divvied up, whether horse or greyhound racing would be included, and what amount of the revenue would be set aside for gambling addiction education.

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Senator Tom Holland attempted to get an amendment pass that would seek to replace the bill, but it failed to get support. The amendment wanted to allocate power to the state for future negotiations with sportsbook operators and casinos.

In the committee, there were no opponents of the bill. This was rare for a gambling bill in the state, according to Sen. Jeff Longbine, carrier of the bill. The Senate passed the bill through by a voice vote.

The state voted to allow both on-site casino betting and mobile betting. The state is asking to get 5.5% of on-site casino revenue and 8% of the mobile betting revenue.

Sports Betting Details Under SB 283

For sports betting revenue obtained from retail operations, operators are expected to pay a 7.5% tax. Online revenue will be taxed at 10%.

Under SB 283, there could be up to eight online sports betting operators in the state, with the casinos receiving two licenses each.

Senate President Susan Wagle got an amendment passed that will put 2% of the sports betting revenue toward addiction counseling and education. According to Wagle, 54,000 Kansans struggle with a gambling problem, and of that number, 75% struggle with other addictions as well.

Revenue Predictions

In a fiscal note from Kansas’ Director of the Budget, Larry Campbell, he details modest fiscal expectations. Campbell says he expects around $500 million in the sports betting handle. The Kansas Lottery estimates anywhere between $360-$600 million in annual handle. As detailed in the note, the number could potentially go up to $900 after five years.

What’s Next?

With the Senate passing the bill, next down the line is the House, and if passed there, it would move on to the governor.

With this bill, sports betting would be permitted in state-owned casinos. If it passes, tribal casinos will be able to apply to allow sports betting as well.

The passing of the bill will also enable the state to collect on college and professional bets that they believe are currently going on under the radar.

“It’s not a new outlet because I think we know that it’s happening, we hope that it’s a new safer outlet,” Lawrence Senator Marci Francisco said. “Why not have it controlled by the state, and then make sure for those people who are participating in that wagering that it’s non-offshore, that they know that their bets will be acknowledged.”