Legalized sports betting is finally heading to Kansas.
On Thursday, Gov. Laura Kelly officially signed the bill into action this week. Her approval is one of the final steps in the process after both the Senate and House eventually passed it.
There was mild concern when the Sunflower State Senate rejected a conference committee report for the sports betting bill in late April. This turned out as predicted, with them deciding to just add some additional legislation that didn’t affect sports betting at all.
The Senate then passed SB 84 by a final count of 21-13. House members previously pushed it along by a slightly wider margin, 73-49. Now, it just needs Gov. Kelly’s signature and Kansas sports betting could launch within the next couple of months.
Kansas sports betting bill progresses
The clear disagreement among lawmakers showed within the relatively tight vote for sports betting. Fortunately for prospective bettors in KS, that appears to be in the past.
Part of the reason some want to develop the sports betting market in Kansas is to create more opportunities, including potentially adding a few professional sports teams. There’s some speculation that the recent Super Bowl-winning Kansas City Chiefs might relocate from their aging Arrowhead Stadium in neighboring Missouri.
A goal is to use a percentage of all sports betting revenue for a fund that can build a new sports stadium in the state. Perhaps more revenue from this new market could provide enough to get a state-of-the-art venue that can entice the Chiefs.
Sen. Rob Olson is one of the members who are strongly in favor of bringing legal sportsbooks to KS. He’s optimistic about the future ventures the industry may lead to.
According to KSNT, Olson said:
“If you had a football team in Western Wyandotte county, how many places would have a football team, a world-class soccer team, casino, a speedway, and all the shopping amenities, and minor league baseball…in just that geographical area. That would be the kind of destination that would have a Super Bowl, and when you have a Super Bowl, all the money that would be spent in that local area…it would generate a lot.”State Senator Robert Olson (R)
While Olson is certainly looking forward, his plans don’t seem implausible at all. The Chiefs’ lease for its current stadium deal expires in Jan. 2031.
Inside the Kansas sports betting market
Since legal KS sportsbooks are just around the corner from releasing, let’s examine some of the details within the state.
This bill allows both retail and online sports betting, which will be provided by the four KS casinos:
- Boot Hill Casino
- Hollywood Casino
- Kansas Crossing Casino
- Star Casino
Each will provide an on-site option, as well as the ability to debut up to three different online platforms. The number of skins can increase to four if the casino partners with a professional sports team.
Currently, the only franchise operating in KS is Sporting KC of the MLS.
This is quality news for bettors in the state, as there can technically be a total of 16 online sports betting apps under the current regulations. That should bring all of the major sportsbook providers to the state and give residents plenty of freedom.
Once it goes live, the Kansas Lottery will oversee the sports betting regulation, where the tax rate sits at 10% for all sports bets. Soon enough, everyone at least 21 years old in KS will have the opportunity to bet on their favorite sports teams.
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press