Kansas Sports Betting Bill Signed Into Law

A significant step has been taken for sports fans as Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed Senate Bill 84 into law on Thursday, May 12, making Kansas the 27th state to legalize sports betting.

Kelly’s signature sets in motion the process of state officials establishing regulatory and procedural guidelines, licensing application timelines and rules, and the launch of legal sports betting in Kansas, perhaps as early as this fall.

“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” Kelly said in a statement. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”

Details Of The Kansas Sports Betting Law

The bill signed into law by Gov. Kelly a Democrat from the 18th district in northern Topeka calls for licensing of retail and online sportsbooks. Under the new law, the four casinos located in Kansas are eligible for retail sports betting licenses, either on their own or with partner sportsbooks. Up to 50 operators can be licensed in the state, with both retail, online and retail/online combo licenses available for a fee that has not been disclosed.

Some experts have speculated that the Kansas sports betting market could be as large as $150-200 million total handle annually once it gets underway. The state would receive 10% of total revenue from operators, which could be as high as $30-45 million annually. The Kansas Lottery Commission has been charged with overseeing sports betting in the state.

Existing laws that govern tribal-owned casinos will need to be amended to accommodate sports betting, and that process might slow the launch of the market. Unlike other states that recently legalized sports betting, like Ohio, there is no hard deadline on when Kansas must launch its market.

What Will Sports Betting Mean For Kansas?

As in most other states, lawmakers cite a desire to regulate sports betting for consumer safety as a primary reason for legalizing the activity. Yes, the state will receive tax monies from sports betting, but that figure is small compared to other tax revenue streams. In Kansas, there is another reason officials have been keen on launching a sports betting market to join the big time in sports.

Several interest groups in Kansas are actively seeking to attract a professional sports team to the state, and they’ve successfully lobbied state legislators to include provisions in the sports betting law to that effort. The law allocates 80% of the tax revenue received through sports betting to be used to lure a team to Kansas, which does not have a team in any of the four major pro leagues.

Neighboring Missouri hosts two pro teams the Chiefs and Royals who compete in Kansas City in that state. Some in Kansas wish to see the Chiefs or Royals shift to Kansas. An enticing sports betting market may be the carrot it takes.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

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