What Are The Benefits To Legal Sports Betting In Kansas?

Kansas sports betting may become a reality

You’re almost there, Kansas sports fans.

A bill that would legalize online and retail sports betting in Kansas made some significant strides last week, only to be held up by a three-week veto break.

The bill, known as SB 84, was advanced by the House early Sunday morning but did not make it to the Senate in time. The bill will be back up for discussion on April 25, and if it passes at that time, all it will need is a signature from Gov. Laura Kelly. Kelly has already expressed her support for sports betting.

This push for sports betting in Kansas comes at the same time that neighboring state Missouri is also making great progress on legal sports betting. Both states are scrambling to get this done because of the rumors surrounding the Kansas City (Missouri part) Chiefs looking to possibly relocate to the Kansas side of town.

A Cheifs team representative spoke at Missouri’s Senate sports betting hearing, saying the Chiefs are only looking to renovate — not relocate — their stadium. However, in an interview with The Ringer reporter Kevin Clarke, Chiefs owner Mark Donovan reportedly said they are looking for new stadium options in the state of Kansas.

This seems to have grabbed Kansas lawmakers’ attention. Under the newly proposed sports betting bill, a whopping 80% of tax revenue from sports betting would go to a special fund for financing new professional sports stadiums and facilities.

“If we could add another team, that would be great,” said Rep. John Barker, the Abilene Republican and chief negotiator for the House on sports betting.

Details of Kansas sports betting bill SB 84

After surviving what seemed a sure failure in the House, the Kansas sports betting bill would allow online sports betting through the state’s four casinos:

  • Boot Hill Casino
  • Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway
  • Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel
  • Star Casino

Each casino would receive up to three skins and could partner with up to 50 different retailers. In addition, a casino can request an additional skin in partnership with a major league sports team in the state.

Kansas currently has only one major league sports team, Sporting Kansas City of the MLS.

A flat 10% tax on mobile and retail sports betting revenue was also agreed upon, which is incredibly low when you compare it to other states.

For example, New York taxes sportsbooks at 51%, Tennessee at 20%, and Pennsylvania at 36%. However, neighboring Colorado has also agreed to a 10% tax on sportsbook revenue, so at least they are not alone.

How much money could Kansas sports betting generate?

It was originally estimated that Kansas could see up to $10 million in tax revenue from sports betting by 2024. But that was when the tax rate was going to be 20%.

Now that it’s 10%, you can expect that number to half, leaving Kansas with really no money to show for their sports betting.

Kansas, with a population of 2.9 million, compares best to Iowa in terms of population (3.1 million). Sports betting is legal in Iowa and generated almost $600,000 in tax revenue in February 2022 alone. Iowa’s tax rate is incredibly low on sportsbook revenue, sitting at only 6.75%.

I’m no financial expert, but just by looking at these numbers alone, I would assume that the Kansas sports betting market, given time to grow, will well exceed their expectations.

Where will the money go?

As I already discussed, 80% of the revenue will go toward a fund set up to attract professional sports teams. However, that leaves a big chunk of money left to be divided out, so where will it go?

Well, the newly proposed sports betting bill would require at least $750,000 annually go to the White Collar Crime Fund. Also, 2% would go to the Problem Gaming and Addiction Grant Fund.

Photo by Rick Scuteri/Associated Press