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Kansas Senate Looking to Pass Sports Betting

The Kansas legislature will attempt to legalize sports betting once again in 2021. Earlier this week, the Senate introduced SB 84.

In 2019 and 2020, sports betting looked promising in the state. However, there were significant differences between the sports betting bills brought forward in the House and the Senate in 2020. This difference in opinions caused sports betting to stall.

Gambling Framework in Kansas

Kansas has four commercial casinos in the state. These four properties are Boot Hill Casino, Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel, and the Kansas Star Casino. Under SB 84, each book would operate three online skins totaling 12 in the state.

There are also five tribal casinos in Kansas. The current tribal compacts don’t allow for sports betting on reservation land. Nevertheless, if SB 84 was passed in the state legislature, the tribes would be able to renegotiate their compacts to include sports betting.

This renegotiation would create more retail and online sportsbooks in the state. Border states in nearly every direction are in the process of legalizing sports betting, so Kansas needs to act quickly to prevent losing future revenue.

The Details of SB 84

If the legislature passes SB 84, that could mean that nearly 30 online sports betting platforms could be available in the state. Online sports betting continues to dominate the U.S. markets, especially during the ongoing pandemic. Making online sports betting easier should allow for massive industry growth in Kansas.

In-person sports betting revenue would be taxed at 7.5%, and online wagering would be taxed at 10%. Both of these numbers should entice sports betting operators to enter the state. There is an application fee of $250,000 in SB 84.

Some casinos would have to pay more money in taxes, depending on their location. No retail bets could be taken under SB 84 at the state’s NASCAR track. The Kansas Speedway hosts two events per year.

Bettors in the state would have no restrictions on college sports betting, meaning that the University of Kansas and Kansas State University’s athletic programs would be fair game for sports betting. The legal betting age would be 21.

Next Steps for SB 84

After two years of failed sports betting legislation attempts, 2021 could be the year for legalization. Although, there is still a long way to go in the current legislative session. The bill is presently in the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs. If the bill passes through this committee, other individual groups in the Senate will have the ability to negotiate the bill. After multiple committees approve the bill, the entire Senate would vote on SB 84.

The State House would then have their chance to vote on the bill. If it passed in the House, it would move to Governor Laura Kelly’s desk for approval. If Governor Kelly signs the bill, state gambling regulators would solidify the final regulations.

People are optimistic that 2021 is the year for legal sports betting in Kansas, but there is still a long legislative process ahead for SB 84.

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