On 26 February, after two years of haggling, the Kansas State Senate passed a bill that would allow sports betting. Lawmakers had hoped to pass a bill before Super Bowl LIV, realising that would have been a huge boost for the state. The drive then became an attempt to pass a bill before the March Madness of the NCAA took off.
If passed the bill would allow adults over the age of 21 to put wagers on professional and college sporting events using online platforms, or at one of the four casinos in the state: Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas Star Casino at Mulvane, Boot Hill Casino at Dodge City, and Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel at Pittsburg.
Kansas will earn 7.5% of the profits from all bets placed within a casino, and 10% from online bets. Online sportsbook operators would be allowed to negotiate their own agreements with the casinos.
It is estimated that within the first year as much as $600 million would be spent on sports betting, with the state taking in around $3 million out of that. Others thought the state would get even more though, with Sen. Tom Holland arguing that the state was “leaving money on the table.” He said, ““At the end of the day, this has to be a profitable to the state.”
Some of the tax revenue would go to the Horse Fair Racing Benefit Fund, while other money would go to the Kansas Attorney General’s White Collar Crime Fund for investigations. The legislation also contains Senate President Susan Wagle’s proposal to use 2 percent of the proceeds to treat gambling addiction.
Wagle said: “If you’re drinking and gambling, you can get in big trouble. Our situation here is we’re now going to make this readily available through our new technologies on phones and on computers.”
When approved by the house it will move for final approval to the governor’s desk.