Sports betting in Kansas is now a signature away from being legalized as it now sits with Gov. Laura Kelly. The Senate passed SB 84 early Friday by a vote of 21-13, and the House passed it on Thursday by a vote of 73-49.
What Will a Sports Betting Market Look Like in Kansas
The Senate chamber rejected the House’s changes to the bill on Wednesday, but both sides convened quickly to resolve the issues on Thursday morning. The bill cleared the chamber by mid-Thursday afternoon.
Bettors across the SunFlower State will soon be able to place bets on their smartphones and other mobile devices. Retail sports betting will also be permitted in the state.
Four of the state’s casinos will have mobile licenses, with a fourth available when a casino partners with a professional sports team. The only professional franchise that plays in the state is Sporting KC of the MLS.
Another alternative is the gaming facilities could partner with 50 commercial partners where bettors can place wagers if needed. According to that plan, 20 percent of the revenue would go to fraternal or veterans’ organizations.
Each bet placed will have a ten percent tax rate, which is lower than the majority of the sports betting industry. Once the bill is signed into law, this would be a milestone for the jurisdiction as the neighboring state, Missouri, also referred to as the Show-Me State, is running into roadblocks with its sports betting bill.
What Supporters of the Sports Betting Bill Want
Under the bill, 80 percent of the revenue generated would be set aside for a venue to attract another professional sports organization. The top target on the list would be the Kansas City Chiefs.
Senator Rob Olson stated;
“If you had a football team in Western Wyandotte county, how many places would have a football team, a world-class soccer team, casino, a speedway, and all the shopping amenities and minor league baseball, in just that geographical area?”
Sen. Olson believes that bringing a professional sports organization like the Chiefs would generate a lot of revenue for the state. Football is the most popular sport in the United States, and bringing the Chiefs could make Kansas a future Super Bowl destination. The revenue generated could be used to help local communities.
Missouri running into their own sports betting issues could help Kansas move forward. Bettors could not only cross state lines to place wagers on the Chiefs and other sporting events throughout the year, but also this would help local businesses.
The Bill Also Faces Opposition
With most business ventures, there will be those who oppose the idea as they have solid evidence to support their case. Setting aside 80 percent of the potential revenue generated wouldn’t be ideal if the people who reside in the state don’t benefit from it. The argument is the money could be used to fund programs that would aid local communities.
As the tax rate stands, 10 percent would only generate $10 million in taxes by year three. Many conservatives and other religious groups that reside in the state believe that legalizing sports betting will create compulsive gamblers, which will lead to more problems moving forward.
Sen. Renee Erickson asked what the benefit would be for the people who reside in Kansas as she questioned the purpose of the funds by adding;
“I don’t know, I’ve heard that sports arenas are fairly expensive. Even at the $10 million, I don’t know how long it would take to accumulate enough in that fund at approximately $8 million a year to be able to build the stadium that we’re talking about. I don’t know that that’s a realistic number.”
If the funds were not needed there, Sen. Ron Olson noted that they could be pulled back for other use.