The issue of legal sports betting is a hot topic across the entire country these days. As of Feb. 1, there are 20 states, such as Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, plus the District of Columbia offering legal sports betting within their borders in one form or another. Another five states are working through the start-up process at this time.
That leaves the half of the country off the list right now. However, lawmakers in many of those states are grappling with the issue in various stages of the legislative process. Sports fans in Kansas looking to bet on the games find themselves in that particular group.
In the midst of the current legislative session, the Kansas Senate has made the first significant move. Its Federal and State Affairs Committee has officially filed a bill that would legalize betting by the end of this year.
This will be the third attempt to move legal sports betting legislation forward in Kansas. The big difference this time around could be neighborly competition.
Missouri to the east has multiple bills circulating through its legislative process. Nebraska to the north is looking to expand its current legal gambling offerings.
The bill on file in Kansas is SB 84. The 39-page document would pave the way for up to 12 licensed sports betting operators in the state. The regulatory body overseeing the sports betting industry would be the Kansas Lottery Corporation.
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Other provisions of SB 84 are tied to the existing casino industry in the state. The four land-based commercial casinos could offer an in-house retail sportsbook along with as many as three online sportsbook skins.
The state’s Tribal casinos would be granted permission to offer sports betting onsite. The Kansas Speedway would also be allowed add an online sports betting operator at the track.
The proposed tax rate on sports betting revenue would be set 7.5 percent for retail sportsbooks. This rate increases to 10 percent for online books.
In-state bettors would be allowed to wager on college sports, including any Kansas-based schools. The only limits in place would be on certain betting options.
The minimum age for legal sports betting would be set at 21, which is the current age set for casino gambling. SB 84 did not particularly address the registration process to sign-up for an online betting account.
Certain states require sports bettors to first register for a betting account at a retail location. The latest industry trends appear to be moving away from this requirement.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Senate bill is a set deadline of Oct. 31 to finish the whole process.
A similar bill failed to pass last year. The main reason was the fact that it got lost in the shuffle with other priorities on the plate. Legal sports betting suddenly has a higher profile in 2021 due to the heightened activity across the entire US market.
Proponents of the measure do not want to see Kansas fall too far behind the increased competition.