A little over a week ago, the Kansas Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee passed SB 283, a sports betting bill that involves both retail and mobile betting. This is a huge step forward for the state and it effectively brings it closer than ever before to the launch of a legalized sports betting industry. Even so, there is still a lot more that will need to be done before a regulated sports betting market becomes a reality.
A Few Setbacks
As mentioned above, even though the plans for a regulated sports betting market are slowly shaping up, the state’s lawmakers have hit a few roadblocks during their discussions. One of the issues that have cropped is the lack of consensus between the lawmakers on some very key issues. In addition to that, some of the lawmakers have also been called out for allegedly being “too generous” to gaming companies that already have casino operations in Kansas.
After the bill was approved by the state Senate following a four-hour debate, it was sent to the House where, as it turns out, a committee has been working on a piece of legislation that is likely to be in conflict with SB 283.
SB 283 will allow sports bettors in Kansas to place bets via the existing state-owned casinos which are managed by private companies through contracts with the state lottery. Betting will also be possible through computers and mobile devices – even lottery tickets would be available online to a given extent. Senate Vice-President Jeff Longbine believes that this will allow them to pull revenue from unregulated and untaxed markets including both offshore and black-market betting options.
Some of the complaints that were lodged against the Senate sports betting bill cited the fact that it gave the private companies managing the state’s casinos too much control over sports betting. This is particularly because there will be no need for separate sports betting contracts with the lottery. Moreover, the private casino management companies will also have control over who is able to offer digital sports betting in the state.
Already, the House committee mentioned earlier is preparing to hold hearings in the coming month to discuss their proposal on the matter. Unlike the SB 283 terms, the House committee’s proposal does not give the casino management companies control over everything. Instead, the state itself would receive the biggest chunk of revenue from sports betting.
In addition to that, instead of limiting sports betting to specific locations, the proposal would allow retail stores that are currently selling lottery tickets to also accept simple sports bets. Hopefully, all these issues will be ironed out during next month’s hearings.