Sports Betting Bill Passes in Kansas House and Senate

Three Casino Fronts in Kansas
Lawmakers in Missouri failed to pass a sports betting bill earlier this week. Legislators in Kansas are looking to take advantage of that mistake. Senators in the Sunflower State passed a sports betting bill early this morning. The measure was quickly approved by the House and will now head to the Governor’s office.

After hours of discussion, Senate Bill 84 was approved. The measure will allow retail and tribal casinos in Kansas to apply for sports betting licenses. It will also permit online sportsbooks as well. SB 84 calls for a majority of the state’s gaming revenue to go toward funding the Kansas Department of Commerce.

The timing of the sports betting bill is key. With neighboring Missouri failing to pass a sports betting bill of its own. Now, Kansas is a heavy favorite to win the legal sports betting race between the two rivals. Legal sports betting could be a useful tool in Kansas’s attempt to attract an NFL team.

What Is Senate Bill 84?

Senate Bill 84 is a proposed bill that would legalize sports betting in the state of Kansas. After much debate, it has successfully passed through Kansas’s Senate and House of Representatives. SB 84 has several key features that should help the state be competitive in the growing sports betting industry.

Under the bill, all of the commercial casinos in Kansas could apply for a sportsbook license. Tribal casinos, such as the Golden Eagle, would also be allowed to petition the state for a sports betting license as well. After receiving a license, sports betting operators would be allowed to have up to three online skins as well. SB 84 would also allow for mobile sports betting in the state.

There is no start date for legal sports betting in the bill. However, it does lay out how Kansas would use sports betting tax revenue. Under SB 84, 80% of the tax revenue would go toward funding the Kansas Department of Commerce.

SB 84 also dictates the organizations that would be in charge of sports betting in Kansas. The legislation calls for the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission to work with the Kansas Lottery to regulate the industry.

House and Senate Approve Sports Betting Bill

Earlier this week, things did not look good for SB84. On Wednesday, senators chose not to take up the bill and sent it back to the committee stage. However, proponents kept working on the bill and eventually created a package that lawmakers could agree on.

SB 84 passed in the Senate with a 21-13 vote. The bill was then sent to the House of Representatives for approval. Lawmakers in the House quickly voted to approve the changes to the bill. Kansas legislators have been discussing legalized sports betting throughout the 2022 session.

A previously proposed bill was shot down over concerns it favored specific operators. For instance, one bill would have allowed Phil Ruffin to have a monopoly on sports betting kiosks at racetracks. SB 84 will allow equal access to sports betting for all licensed operators. With all the major concerns addressed, proponents of legal sports betting were able to push the bill through both chambers.

Next Steps for Kansas Sports Betting Bill

Now that SB 84 has successfully passed through both chambers, it heads to the Governor’s office. Now all that is needed is for Kansas Governor Laura Kelly to sign off on the bill. If she does. then Kansas will join the dozens of other states that offer legal sports betting.

Legal sportsbooks have been a great economic boost for states across the US. However, for Kansas, the prospect of legalized sports betting could bring more than just increased tax revenue. It can be the catalyst the Sunflower State needs to become the home of an NFL team.

There have been rumors recently of the Kansas City Chiefs potentially relocating to Kansas. Many proponents of SB 84 have used those rumors to build support for the bill. Lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri have argued that legal sports betting could be vital to the Chiefs’ future plans.

SB 84 was designed with the NFL team in mind. The bill calls for 80% of tax revenue that will go to the Kansas Department of Commerce. That means that sports betting tax revenue could be used to fund a new NFL stadium in the Sunflower State. Proponents of the bill believe that a new stadium could lead to other opportunities as well. For instance, it could make Kansas a future Super Bowl site.

Conclusion

Senate Bill 84 looked to be in dire straits earlier this week. However, Kansas lawmakers were able to come together and reach an agreement on the bill. Now, Kansas is just a signature away from legalizing sports betting. The decision rests on the shoulders of Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.

The timing of the bill represents a unique opportunity for Kansas. It would allow the state to beat its neighboring rival Missouri in the race to legalize sports betting. Legal sports betting would make Kansas a more attractive option to the Kansas City Chiefs. There have been reports that the NFL team has been considering looking for a new home across state lines.