In a stunning turn of events, Kansas has beaten neighboring Missouri to the sports betting finish line. With the passing and signing of Senate Bill SB 84 into law, Kansas residents will be permitted to legally wager on sports in the near future. Ironically, the news broke at around the same time the Missouri state legislature failed to pass its own sports betting legislation.
It’s good news for Kansas residents who have been waiting most of their adult lives to wager on the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) or the Kansas City Royals (MLB) from the comfort of their own home. Or anywhere else throughout the Sunflower State for that matter.
The stats: SB 84 passed a House vote by a count of 73-49 0n May 19th, 2022. In an effort to get the bill to Governor Laura Kelly’s desk as quickly as possible, the Kansas Senate took a vote and passed the sports betting legislation on early Friday morning (May 20, 2022) by a vote of 21-13. Subsequently, Governor Kelly obliged by signing the bill into law that very morning.
What the Kansas Sports Betting Bill Says
SB 84 did little but set the framework for the Kansas Lottery to create the state’s sports betting infrastructure. In the bill, there are provisions for the state’s casinos, restaurants/bars, and other entertainment venues to participate in sports betting. It will be up to the Lottery to decide on specific details related to participation and licensing.
One thing was very clearly stated by the new law. Kansas will receive tax revenue to the tune of 10% on all sports betting gross revenue. That is regardless of whether the revenue comes from retail or online sports betting handle. The law also stated that a majority of the state’s sports betting tax revenue would go towards the “Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund.” That fund is to encourage professional sports franchises to come to or stay in KC.
Other provisions in the law include:
Wagering on amateur college sports team from Kansas will be allowed.
Each of the state’s retail casinos can offer up to three online/mobile sports betting skins.
The minimum sports betting age will be 21 years old.
Note: There is a provision in the bill that grants historical horse racing at the Wichita Greyhound Park. However, it’s possible this provision could be a violation of contracts in place with retail casinos since 2007. If so, the sports betting legislation might face delays.
Kansas Sports Betting Timeline
Based on specific language in SB 84, the Kansas Lottery has until January 1st, 2023 to get the state’s sports betting infrastructure in place. With that said, there is nothing that prevents them from getting things done earlier. And no doubt that will be the intention.
The Kansas City Chiefs are arguably one of the best teams in football. With the new NFL season set to start in the second week of September 2022, there is ample motivation to start taking bets by then. Pragmatists will say that’s a tough ask and that the first legal sports bet is far more likely to be made later in 2022 or at the beginning of 2023. Time will tell.
But even a January 2023 start is far from bad news. It would still come in time for Kansas sports bettors to wager on the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl. That timing would get sports betting off to a roaring start if other states are anything to go by.
In 2021, Michigan sports betting and Virginia sports betting launched in January. This year, New York sports betting and Louisiana sports betting had January launches. In each case the betting handle in the early stages surpassed expectations.
Regardless of the exact timing, the long wait for legal sports betting in Kansas is finally over.