Kansas Sports Betting Bill Stalled At Finish Line For Three Weeks

Written By Pat Evans on April 5, 2022
Kansas sports betting

A bill legalizing mobile and retail sports betting in Kansas made great strides last week but must wait at least three weeks for more action.

The House advanced a final SB 84 version early Saturday morning after a conference committee agreed to a deal for the KS sports betting legislation Friday. The Senate did not take up the bill before the legislature adjourned for a three-week veto break.

Lawmakers will return to work April 25 and the Senate will presumably take up the bill. Should it receive a final approval from the Senate, Gov. Laura Kelly likely will sign the bill. Kelly told reporters last week she wants sports betting of some form in Kansas.

Kansas House vote contentious

While the conference committee agreed to a final deal, some representatives appeared less than thrilled as they tallied votes Friday night. There was a motion not to adopt the deal and send it back to the conference committee by Rep. Henry Helgerson.

Needing a simple majority, the motion failed in a 56-56 tie. The House adopted the deal in a final vote, 6349.

One of Helgerson’s hangups was a component added in during the conference by Rep. John Barker. Based on news that the NFL‘s Kansas City Chiefs were potentially looking at a move to Kansas, the conference committee agreed that 80% of the state’s revenue from sports betting should go to the Attracting Professional Sports in Kansas Fund.

Final Kansas sports betting deal

The Senate agreed to its sports betting proposal last year, while the House advanced its version of the bill March 30. Both proposals legalized retail and mobile sports betting through the state’s four casinos, with each receiving up to three skins.

During a conference committee late last week, legislators from both chambers agreed to a final version, including a flat 10% tax on mobile and retail sports betting revenue. The conference also settled on allowing casinos to partner with up to 50 retailers.

The final bill also will allow a casino to request an additional online skin in partnership with a major league sports team. Kansas has one major league team, Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.

Race to the finish line in Kansas, Missouri

Both Kansas and Missouri now have a sports betting bill through one chamber. Lawmakers in both states have taken shots at their neighbor throughout the legislative process for sports betting.

It is clear that multiple legislators in both states are working to be the first of the two states to legalize sports betting.

The Missouri House passed its proposal last month and it begins its Senate committee hearings this week.

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Pat Evans

Pat Evans is a Las Vegas-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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