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Kansas Sports Betting UPDATE: Reality in 2022?

House Bill 2740 take the stage

The Kansas House of Representatives House Committee on Federal Affairs will review a bill to legalize Kansas sports betting during a meeting Thursday, March 22 at 8:00 a.m. local time. 

House Bill 2740 would legalize online and retail betting at Kansas’ four lottery-run casinos. The online tax would be 20%, and the retail rate would be 14%.

Kansas natives will be familiar with the fight to pass gambling legislation, one that made headway by passing through the Senate before ultimately failing a House vote last year; that bill had tax rates of 8% and 5.5%, which is the biggest difference between the two iterations of the bill.

Renewing the battle for Kansas sports betting

The familiar struggle for betting legislation appears to be headed down a different path this year; both sides of congress are more aligned on the issue and support a legally gambling system in Kansas. 

Senator Rob Olson introduced the bill and pointed to the practicality of legalization as a major source of validation.

“It’ll be the best benefit for Kansans that are using it,” said Senator Olson. “They’ll be able to have that app on their phone. The young people have kind of gone this modern way.” 

The difference between now and during previous attempts to push legislation through is that over 30 states have laid the blueprint for the Jayhawk state to follow. 

“Everyone’s just going [to] be [betting] anyways,” said an anonymous bettor. “If you were putting that money out of state illegally, why not make it legal and pump that money into the infrastructure and state economy.” 

Success in surrounding states

The Midwest betting scene has also been rapidly-expanding and bringing tremendous revenue into state funds, which could help develop Kansas as a whole.

Tennessee legalized sports betting near the end of 2020 and is expected to have up to $25 million in extra funds to put towards education. 

The Kansas City Chiefs are also helping to lead an effort in Missouri that would allow professional sports teams to build sportsbooks on campus grounds. This pact between the teams has forced the hands of Missouri legislators, who have been meeting frequently to discuss the future of Missouri sports betting

Details of the bill

Kansas sports betting would operate under the discretion of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission if approved. It would allow for betting on professional and collegiate sports, as well as any particular athletic event that has been signed off on by the commission.

The Kansas Jayhawks would provide a particularly big draw, especially during March Madness, which Kansans are missing out on this go-around.

HB 2740 would also create three online sportsbook licenses per casino— the original wording only called for one sportsbook, but the bill was amended to fit the mold of the previous Senate bill.

Kansas Native American Tribes would also be allowed to pivot and allow sports betting at their facilities. 

State casinos would be required to donate $100,000 to the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund each year. The minimum gambling age would be 21.

The Kansas legislative session ends on April 1, 2022.

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