This week, Kansas lawmakers are expected to start talks regarding sports betting expansion to take advantage of the US Supreme Court’s ruling under which the sports betting federal ban was lifted.
Several states across the US have already legalized sports betting operations, while for the time being Kansas is among the ones which have been considering the pros and cons of such a gambling sector expansion. The increasing interest towards sports betting dates back to May 2018, when the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of New Jersey in the state’s long-lasting sports betting case – a decision which allowed states to decide whether to add sports betting to their legal gambling operations or not.
The expansion of the Kansas gambling industry into sports betting was backed by the Democratic Government-elect Laura Kelly during her campaign. However, some local legislators, such as Senator Bud Estes, believe that forging the details of the new type of gambling will be challenging. Despite the fact he is still having doubts that it would be difficult for state lawmakers to handle something they know little about, Senator Estes said that sports betting is probably going to be greenlighted in some form.
He further encouraged all lawmakers to appear at the special interim committee session that will take place on December 4th and 5th and will be devoted to the possible gambling expansion.
New Legislative Session to Start on January 14th
For the time being, Kansas allows commercial casino gambling. The upcoming legislative session is set to start on January 14th, but no piece of legislation has been drafted yet.
The Republican Representative Jan Kessinger introduced a sports betting bill during the last legislative session. Unfortunately, the proposed piece of legislation did not gain much support and failed, but Kessinger has revealed that he plans to make another try in 2019. According to financial experts, the proposed bill would have generated $75 million on an annual basis in case it was given the green light.
Some of the main issues related to the legalization of sports betting in Kansas are related to taxation. Legislators need to make sure that the tax rate that would be imposed is not too high so that local bettors decide to turn to providers that offer sports betting services illegally.
Apart from the regulation of the new form of gambling, the place and the ways bets are to be made are also under question. It still remains unclear whether local customers will be able to place bets only at casinos, or they will be allowed to do that at sports bars. Whether mobile sports betting applications will be allowed, is also unknown.
Senator Estes has explained that Kansas lawmakers need to be “educated” on the matter so that they are adequate enough when passing the legislation.