On February 26, the Kansas state Senate passed a bill that would legalize sports betting after two years of haggling.
Lawmakers had been hoping to have passed a bill prior to Super Bowl LIV, knowing that would have been a huge boon for the state. The push then became to try to pass a bill before the NCAA’s March Madness got underway.
The bill, should it become law, would allow adults over the age of 21 to place wagers on both professional and college sporting events using online platforms, or by going to one of the state’s four casinos: Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City and Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel in Pittsburg.
Kansas would receive 7.5% of the profits from all bets placed inside a casino and 10% of the from online bets. The casinos would be allowed to negotiate their own deals with online sportsbook providers.
It’s expected that as much as $600 million would be spent on sports betting within the first year, with the state taking in about $3 million from that amount. Some felt the state should get even more though, with Sen. Tom Holland complaining the state was “leaving money on the table.” He added that “At the end of the day, this has to be a profitable to the state.”
Some of the tax revenue would go toward the Horse Fair Racing Benefit Fund, while other revenue would be used to create a White Collar Crime Fund for investigations led by the Kansas Attorney General. The bill also includes a provision by Senate President Susan Wagle to use 2% of the revenue for treating gambling addiction.
“If you’re drinking and gambling, you can get in big trouble,” Wagle said. “Our situation here is we’re now going to make this readily available through our new technologies on phones and on computers.”
Once passed by the house, it will head to the governor’s desk for final approval.