Kansas Sports Betting Bill Delayed After Surprising Amendment Failure

Posted on: March 30, 2022, 01:55h. 

Last updated on: March 30, 2022, 02:45h.

A legislative effort to bring regulated sports wagering to Kansas hit an unexpected roadblock Tuesday.  That’s when a lottery-related amendment failed on two occasions.

Kansas sports betting
Boyd Gaming’s Kansas Star Casino. Sports betting legislation is delayed in the state. (Image: Kansas Star Casino/ Yelp)

House Bill 2740 (HB 2740) would legalize online and mobile sports betting in Kansas at the state’s land-based casinos, convenience stores, and racetracks. The legislation enjoys bipartisan backing, as well as the support of the state’s commercial and tribal casino operators.

The bill appeared poised to pass before an amendment prohibiting the Kansas Lottery from selling tickets online was defeated. Under HB 2740, Kansas Lottery would work with gaming operators to launch regulated sports wagering in the state.

Though it doesn’t attract the attention of iGaming and sports betting, some analysts see massive opportunity with internet lotteries, noting that market could eventually rival that of online sports wagering. To the chagrin of casino operators, Kansas Lottery previously attempted to attach the iLottery provision to other sports wagering legislative efforts.

By banning an online lottery, the state is missing out on $11 million in revenue, according to Sunflower State Radio, potentially drawing the ire of both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

Still Plenty of Hope

Tuesday’s goings on in Kansas are widely viewed as a temporary hurdle, not a death knell for sports wagering in the state.

Sit tight, guys, we’ll get this out this year,” said Rep. Stephanie Clayton (D-Overland Park) on Twitter. “We can fix this; I’m sure of it.”

Another amendment — one that would give the lottery control of sports betting over casinos — also failed. Not surprisingly, gaming companies oppose that. But some politicians favor it because, if it’s enacted, it means more cash for state coffers.

Opposition to regulated sports wagering in the state exists, but it’s comprised largely of gambling addiction groups and greyhound track owners that claim it in its current form, HB 2470 is biased toward billionaire Phil Ruffin and his efforts to rejuvenate the currently shuttered Sedgwick County racetrack.

Operators Interested in Kansas

HB 2740 proposes a 20% tax on online sports bets and a 14% rate on wagers made at land-based casinos. Several states are well beyond those rates. But some operators are pushing Kansas lawmakers to drop the levy to a friendlier 10%.

Even with the legislative haranguing, no shortage of gaming companies are expressing interest in Kansas. 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.

Penn National Gaming owns Barstool and theScore. Likewise, Boyd Gaming, which operates a land-based casino in Kansas, controls five percent of FanDuel. It’s not clear how Boyd and Penn plan to proceed when the state ultimately signs off on sports betting.