Kansas Sports Betting Soon Legal After Governor’s Signature

Written By Pat Evans on May 12, 2022
Kansas sports betting

Legal sports betting is on its way to Kansas.

Gov. Laura Kelly signed SB 84 Thursday, with the bill set to become law July 1. The KS sports betting legislation passed both chambers in April.

“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” Kelly said. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”

Kansas is the 35th state to legalize sports betting.

Kansas lines up for fall launch

Regulators told LSR sports betting will likely launch sometime this fall in time to capture NFL betting.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and Kansas Lottery, which owns the casinos, will work through the regulatory and licensing process together, representatives from both organizations told LSR this month.

The KRGC also will do its best to learn from the mistakes of previous market launches, said Todd Allen, KRGC government relations manager.

Kansas sports betting options

The Kansas sports betting legislation allows each of the state’s four casinos to operate retail sportsbooks. The casinos also receive three online skins, so major sportsbook operators like BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel are likely in the state.

A casino can request a fourth skin to partner with a professional sports team in the state – just Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer qualifies as of this year. The casinos can also partner with 50 retail establishments to operate betting kiosks.

Kansas will collect a 10% tax on sports betting revenue, with 80% of it earmarked for a fund aimed at bringing a professional sports team to the state. Projections suggest the state could generate up to $10 million annually from sports betting.

Bumpy ride for KS sports betting bill

The bill that eventually made it to the Kelly was a holdover from the 2021 session. The Senate passed its version of the bill, but the legislation stalled out in the House.

The House began debate on a separate bill earlier this session before the chamber’s leadership pulled SB 84 to the floor. With two versions of the bill, a conference committee came together to work out the differences.

The conference report passed the House before the chambers adjourned for three weeks. Following the break, the Senate rejected the report sending it back to a conference committee that came to the ultimate compromise.

Kansas beats Missouri to sports betting

All through the legislative session this spring, Kansas sports betting proponents talked about beating Missouri to sports betting legalization.

With Kelly’s signature, the lawmakers achieve their goal.

It also looks as though the market will launch before Missouri legalizes, as the Show-Me State’s effort fell apart in recent weeks.

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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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