Professional sports leagues scored a victory in the state of Kansas after lawmakers introduced a sports betting bill that called for an integrity fee.
On Friday, the state Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, chaired by Sen. Bud Estes, introduced S.B. 455, which seeks to allow sports betting in the state should the U.S. Supreme Court decides to lift the federal wagering ban.
To summarize the 37-page measure, lawmakers want the Kansas lottery to oversee the conduct of sports betting while the Kansas Gaming Commission will act as the bridge between bookmakers and the professional sports leagues. The gaming commission, bookmakers and sports leagues will work side-by-side to conduct integrity-related investigations and compare information, among others.
S.B. 455 also gives Gaming Commission the final say on the restrictions on games and types of wagers. In terms of revenues, Kansas lawmakers want no less than a 6.75% share from the sports betting operators.
Probably taking notes on the legislative developments in New York, Kansas lawmakers have decided to include an integrity fee in the measure. Lawmakers set their “sport betting right and integrity fee” at 0.25% of handle, but capped it at 5% of sports betting revenue.
“All revenues from sports wagering conducted by the Kansas lottery shall be remitted to the state treasurer and deposited in the lottery operating fund in according with K.S.A 7408711, and amendments thereto,” a provision of S.B. 455 reads.
Professional sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball have been lobbying hard to different states for the inclusion of integrity fee provision in their proposed sports betting measures.
During different legislative hearings, the professional sports leagues raised two arguments for why there’s a need for an integrity fee. Firstly, they claimed that it’s needed to ensure that the integrity of their game as sports betting becomes widespread across the United States.
The leagues also noted that the integrity fee serves as an insurance to the risk that sports betting entails to their brands. They claimed that their brands may bear the brunt of any negative news stemming from sports betting.
Gambling operators are in a wait-and-see mode as they watch the state of New Jersey fight for its right to allow sports betting at casinos and racetracks before the Supreme Court.
At the moment, operators are optimistic that the high tribunal will take in New Jersey’s arguments that the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) violates the U.S. Constitution’s protection of states’ rights.