Kansas Lawmakers Beginning Legal Sports Betting Discussions

By Ken Edwards, 03 December 2018

Kansas legislators are anticipated to begin discussion on the topic of sports betting legalization in the Sunflower State to take advantage of the landmark US Supreme Court’s ruling under which the federal ban on sports-betting was lifted.

Eight states across-the-nation have already begun with their legalized sports betting operations. Kansas is (for the time being at least) among the states which have been weighing-up the pros-and-cons of sports wagering expansion. The developing interest towards legalizing sports betting dates back to May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state of New Jersey in the nation’s long-lasting sports betting case. New Jersey hard-fought-victory over the professional sporting leagues precipitated a decision which now allows for states to decide whether to add sports betting to their legal gambling operations or not.

Sports Betting’s Recent Developments in Kansas

The extension of the Kansas gambling industry into fully legalized and expanded sports betting was famously backed 100 percent by the Democratic Governor-elect Laura Kelly during her election campaign. However, some Kansas legislators, led by Senator Bud Estes, believe that the ‘devil-is-in-the-details’ and overcoming the administrative requirements surrounding the new type of gambling could be challenging and the State may have difficulty in implementing them.

Despite the fact Senator Estes is having doubts, and that it may prove difficult for state legislators to rule on a topic of which they have little to no understanding, the Senator admits that sports betting should receive the green light in some form at least;

“I don’t want to skate on thin ice on something we don’t know anything about,” Estes said.

“If we start passing legislation for interest groups, we could make a real mess. We need to be educated. I’m not going to let my committee go out and pass a lot of legislation right out of the bag. We need to be smarter before we do it.” the Senator added.

Senator Estes went on to encourage Kansas lawmakers to appear at the special interim committee session that will be taking place in Topeka on December 4th and 5th, devoted entirely to the potential gambling expansion in the state, and in particular, sports betting.

New Kansas Legislative Session Starts January 14 2019

New Kansas Legislative Session Starts January 14 2019Currently, Kansas allows commercial casino gambling, however, with the upcoming legislative session in Kansas set to begin on January 14th, no gaming expansion legislation, nor sports betting paperwork is yet drafted.

Republican State Representative Jan Kessinger introduced a sports betting bill during the last legislative session. The proposed legislation did not gain a lot of support from fellow lawmakers and subsequently failed.

Undeterred, Kessinger has announced that he plans to make another attempt in 2019. As states across the nation including Kansas sit back and watch the success of New Jersey sports betting in particular, moods for green lighting the practice are beginning to sprout up nationwide. For Kansas, according to financial experts, last year’s proposed bill could have already begun generating $75 million state revenue on an annual basis if it had been given the green light.

However, Kansas Legislators will need to ensure that the state tax rate will not deter local bettors and influence them in turning to illegal sports betting providers.

Other than the new regulations potentially governing sports wagering, the location and the methods in which bets will be made are also under question. What remains unclear is whether Kansas gamblers will be able to place bets only at casinos, or they will be allowed to do that at sports bars. At this stage, the legalization of mobile and app betting is also an unknown quantity.


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