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Kansas Legislators to Hold Special Session on Sports Betting Before Possible House Hearing

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Mar 23, 2022 · 7:56 AM PDT

Kansas guards Ochai Agbaji and Jalen Coleman-Lands celebrate a win with teammate Zach Clemence
Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30), guard Jalen Coleman-Lands (55) and forward Zach Clemence (21) celebrate after defeating Texas during overtime in an NCAA college basketball game in Lawrence, Kan., Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
  • The Kansas Federal and State Affairs Committee held a hearing on sports betting Tuesday 
  • The sports betting bill, HB 2740, received widespread support but was not yet approved by the committee
  • Committee Chairman John Barker (D-70) said the committee will hold a special hearing on the bill next week

Kansas sports betting could soon be heard in the state’s House of Representatives if a special committee meeting goes well next week.

The Kansas Federal and State Affairs Committee held a hearing this week on the state’s sports betting bill, HB 2740, which would legalize online and retail sports betting at Kansas casinos, but did not vote on the bill.

Special Kansas Sports Betting Meeting Next Week

Despite the support the bill received, the committee did not advance the bill to the Kansas House for a potential vote. Instead, Chairman John Barker (D-70) said he would delay a vote for several days after a handful of committee members requested time to work on potential amendments of the bill.

Barker said the committee will meet again in a special session on Monday, March 26, to hopefully vote on the bill and advance it to the floor of the Kansas House for a hearing and a vote.

The House sports betting bill will legalize online and retail sports betting at the state’s four lottery-run casinos and sets the online sports betting tax rate at 20% and retail sports betting at 14%. The Kansas Senate also introduced a sports betting bill last year that calls for an online sports betting tax rate of 8% and 5.5% for retail sports betting. It’s the largest difference between the two legislative bills.

The House sports betting 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

All four casinos (three which submitted written testimony for the meeting) supported the bill during the committee meeting. Whitney Damron, an attorney and lobbyist representing Penn National Gaming which operates Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway, said the company supports HB 2470 and lauded the decision to allow casinos to partner with up to three online sports betting operators.

He did say the company was slightly concerned with the proposed tax rates in the bill.

“One objection we do raise is tax rates. Tax rates are a little high in this bill. We hope through this process we have an opportunity to bring those down to something that is more in line with what’s happening in the Midwest, happening around the country. I believe Colorado is at 10%, Iowa is at 7.5%, and Missouri may put a bill out in the House in the next week or two that will be close to that 10% number,” he said.

John Federico, a representative for Sporting KC of the MLS, the only professional sports franchise to actually play in Kansas, thanked the committee for their work during the arduous process and welcomed the potential legalization of sports betting in the state.

“Although this bill will not create any revenue for Sporting KC, it was extremely important to them for two reasons. One, they see this as an opportunity to improve the fan experience for those attending Sporting KC games. The second is that they’re hopeful that with the passage of this bill they’ll be able to attract fans, attendees of the game, from out of state and perhaps even out of the region,” Federico said.

Professional, Collegiate Sports Betting Allowed

If approved, 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 would allow up to three online sports betting operators per Kansas casino. Originally, the bill only called for one allowable partnership, but was later amended to allow for three to model the Senate sports betting bill.

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.
  • Historic Horse Racing machines will be legalized.
  • The House bill will not allow for promotional write offs or deductions of the federal excise tax for online sports betting operators. The Senate bill does.

The Kansas legislative session will end on April 1.

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