Kansas Sports Betting? New Bill Would Authorize Single-Game Wagering At Tracks

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Kansas sports betting

Kansas is one of a growing number of states where lawmakers are thinking about legalizing sports betting.

A new bill appeared in the Kansas legislature that would allow the state’s horse racing tracks to offer single-game wagering. The interesting part: There are currently no active tracks in the state.

The Kansas sports betting bill

H 2533 is a short bill that allows for the Kansas lottery to authorize sports betting at tracks where horse betting already takes place.

Of course, like all other states, the Kansas law would need a change in the federal sports betting ban — PASPA — to be able to offer sports betting. That could come as soon as this spring with a decision from the US Supreme Court in the New Jersey sports betting case. The nation’s highest court could rule that the federal ban is unconstitutional.

From the bill:

Any sports gambling authorized by the Kansas lottery in accordance with this act shall be conducted solely on the premises of a racetrack gaming facility and shall be managed and operated by one or more racetrack gaming facility managers.

The bill was introduced by the Committee on Federal and State Affairs.

Kansas was one if the first states to legalize paid-entry fantasy sports back in 2015, although it did nothing to regulate the daily fantasy sports industry.

College wagering OK

The bill does not go into great detail about how the state would regulate wagering. The lottery would be in charge of logistics.

One of the few details in the bill is that wagering on amateur sporting events — including wagering on collegiate games — could take place alongside professional sports. Kansas University basketball is a big draw in the state. There are also MLB’s Kansas City Royals and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in neighboring Missouri.

So where could betting take place?

The purpose of the bill — given the current lack of active racing tracks — is not clear. There has been no pari-mutuel racing in the state since 2008. All licenses “have lapsed and been revoked” according to the state racing and gaming commission.

The bill could presumably be meant to restart the state’s horse racing industry. Tracks in the state can partner with the lottery to offer slot machines, under state law. A racing license tied to the prospect of sports betting would no doubt be attractive.

The bill appears to shut out casinos in the state. Kansas has both commercial and tribal casinos. Trying to authorize sports betting at casinos could create problems vis a vis tribal gaming compacts.

The legislation does not appear to allow for any form of online wagering.

State interest in sports betting reaching a crescendo

The number of states with interest in sports wagering grows nearly every day.

Just this week, we’ve seen Massachusetts introduce a bill to study sports wagering and a hearing in New York about the possibility of sports betting expansion. Last week, Rhode Island’s governor included revenue from potential legal sports betting in the state budget.

As legislatures around the country start to stir to action to start to 2018, we’re only going to see more sports betting bills like the one in Kansas.