Politicians in the Kansas state House and Senate are nearing a vote on sports wagering following the removal of some procedural hurdles.
On Wednesday, the Kansas Senate didn’t take up the sports betting conference package, sending it back to a conference committee and stoking speculation the legislation could falter. Lobbyists and policymakers are saying today the bill has life and a vote could be imminent.
Under the terms of the bill awaiting votes in both the House and the Senate, 80% of state-earned revenue from regulated sports wagering will be funneled to the Kansas Department of Commerce fund. Those proceeds could be allocated to developing a professional sports venue in the state aimed at luring the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs away from neighboring Missouri.
It’s believed that version of the legislation has support in both chambers.
I’ve got guarantees this will run in the Senate,” said Sen. Robert Olson (R-Olathe) in an interview with the Kansas Reflector.
If the bill passes, it would then move to Gov. Laura Kelly (D) for her signature. Assuming all that happens, it’s not immediately clear when sports wagering will launch in Kansas, but lawmakers likely want to get it done in advance of the 2022 college football and NFL seasons.
Ruffin Issue Addressed
A previous Kansas sports wagering legislative package was criticized because it was seen as favoring Phil Ruffin and his efforts to rejuvenate the currently shuttered Sedgwick County racetrack.
The prior bill would have allowed Ruffin’s venue to maintain sports wagering kiosks while barring those machines at other greyhound tracks in Kansas. Under the earlier legislation, Ruffin would have made a $70 million payment to the Kansas Star Casino to pay for violations of current agreements and the businessman would’ve been paid back through gaming revenue.
The commercial casinos in Kansas are Boyd Gaming’s Kansas Star, Penn National Gaming’s Hollywood, and the Prairie Band Casino & Resort. The Golden Eagle is a tribal gaming venue.
Ruffin owns Circus Circus and Treasure Island on the Las Vegas Strip, and is a partner in the non-gaming Trump Hotel.
Kansas Sports Betting Details
The legislation currently under consideration mandates that the Kansas Lottery and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission regulate sports wagering in the state. Each casino operator could control as many as three online skins.
Tribal gaming entities can submit requests to Kelly and the Kansas Lottery to run sportsbooks “under the substantially same terms and conditions” as commercial competitors.
“The casinos could enter marketing agreements with 50 businesses and entities, with one-fifth of the total reserved for nonprofit organizations,” reports the Reflector.
In alphabetical order, the companies with market access to the state are BallyBet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, Boyd Sports, DraftKings, FanDuel, FOX Bet, PointsBet, and theScore.
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