Kansas Sports Betting Advances Past House, Conference Ahead

Written By Pat Evans on March 30, 2022
Kansas sports betting

Kansas sports betting legislation is through both chambers and will head to a conference committee to negotiate differences.

The House approved SB 84 on Wednesday, 88-36. The bill now heads to a conference committee for the Senate and House to work out a final plan for KS sports betting.

Despite worries sports betting legislation might be on thin ice after stalling out in a Tuesday committee meeting, the House pulled the issue to the floor Wednesday morning. On the floor, Rep. John Barker put the language from HB 2470 into SB 84, which advanced through the Senate last year.

Two-year effort in Kansas

Last year, the Kansas Senate passed a bill that gives the state’s four casinos retail and online sports betting, with up to three skins each. The House could not settle on an agreement in 2021, pushing the effort to this year.

The new House proposal includes the casino components from last year but also provides for marketing agreements between casinos and local retailers. A casino operator can also request an additional skin in partnership with a professional sports team in the state.

Sen. Rob Olson is set to lead the charge to legalize sports betting from the Senate side. The Topeka Capital-Journal listed sports betting among the top six legislative issues in Kansas heading into the 2022 session.

Kansas Senate, House differences

With two different versions of SB 84 passing the chambers, the two sides will need to hammer out a final proposal. Once that plan is approved, it would head to Gov. Laura Kelly.

During his floor comments, Barker said the two chambers will need to agree to a compromise on tax rates. The House proposal taxes retail sports betting at 14% and online at 20%, while the Senate bill includes a 5.5% tax on retail and an 8% tax on online.

There were also two amendments adding more support for problem gaming that passed in the House, including one that tags 2% of tax revenue from sports betting to the state problem gambling fund.

Kansas vs. Missouri sports betting race

Lawmakers in both Kansas and Missouri have taken blows at their neighbor during sports betting talks. Now, the race is on to get the issue to the finish line.

Last week, the Missouri House advanced a proposal backed by casino operators, professional sports teams and sportsbook companies. Now, the MO Senate will sort out its multiple sports betting bills, including two that are identical to the House-approved version.

Kansas crossing the finish line would increase the chances Missouri does so as well, according to bill sponsor Rep. Dan Houx.

“If Kansas gets it passed, it puts more pressure to get it done,” Houx said.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based reporter covering sports business. Evans previously worked at Front Office Sports and the Grand Rapids Business Journal. He has authored two books: Grand Rapids Beer and Nevada Beer.

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