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Kansas Conference Committee Compromises on Sports Betting Bill

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Apr 1, 2022 · 1:20 PM PDT

Kansas' Mitch Lightfoot cutting down the nets in March Madness 2022
Kansas' Mitch Lightfoot cuts down the net after a college basketball game in the Elite 8 round of the NCAA tournament Sunday, March 27, 2022, in Chicago. Kansas won 76-50 to advance to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
  • A conference committee including House and Senate representatives has agreed on the basis of a sports betting bill
  • The agreed upon bill will have to be passed by both the House and Senate
  • Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is bullish on sports betting

Representatives from both the Kansas House of Representatives and Senate have agreed to the basis of a Kansas sports betting bill.

A Kansas Conference Committee met twice Friday and worked out the basis of a Kansas sports betting bill, compromising on several key differences from both legislative bodies’ sports betting bills. The bill must now be passed by both the House and the Senate before it can be sent to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) and signed into law.

The conference committee was called earlier in the week after the House of Representatives approved its own sports betting bill. While it was a big step forward for legalized Kansas sports betting, the House bill differed greatly from a Senate bill that had been introduced last year.

Compromises Reached for Kansas Sports Betting

The conference committee agreed upon several key aspects of the new sports betting bill. The representatives compromised on the bill’s tax rate, setting a 10% retail and online sports betting rate in the bill moving forward. Originally, the House bill called for a 20% online sports betting tax rate and a 14% retail rate, while the Senate bill called for an online sports betting tax rate of 8% and 5.5% for retail sports betting.

The other major compromises to the bill were as follows:

  • Both legislative bodies agreed to keep dog racing out of the sports betting bill. 
  • The Kansas lottery will not be allowed to sell lottery tickets online in this bill. 
  • Historical Horse Racing machines (a maximum of 1,000) will be allowed in a single facility in Sedgwick County.
  • In a win for sportsbook, free play and promotional money will be tax exempt. 

The bill could move forward to House and Senate action as early as tonight. If it does not move out of the legislative bodies tonight, it can be worked on later in the month when the session resumes.

If signed into law by Gov. Kelly, sports betting could potentially launch as soon as this football season, or more likelier in the beginning of 2023. It has been expected that Kelly would be in favor of signing a sports betting bill into law.

Kansas Sports Betting Bill Details

If approved and signed into law, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will oversee sports betting in the state. The bill will allow for sports betting on professional events, collegiate events, motor race events, and any special athletic event deemed appropriate by the racing and gaming commission.

The bill will allow up to three online sports betting operators per each of the four Kansas casinos. Originally, the bill only called for one allowable partnership, but was later amended to allow for three to model the Senate sports betting bill.

The bill will also allow sports betting kiosks to be placed in facilities. The bill allows for up to 50 partnerships with retailers, as well as professional sports franchises, to install these sports betting kiosks. The only professional sports franchise in the state is MLS Sporting Kansas City.

Additional Bill Details

In addition to state casinos, Kansas Native American Tribes would have the opportunity to amend their gaming compacts to allow for retail or online sports betting at their facilities.

The sports betting bill also includes the following:

  • State casinos would be required to give $100,000 to the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund each year.
  • The minimum age to participate in sports betting will be 21.
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