Kansas could have two betting bills within weeks

5 December 2018

New sports betting legislation could be introduced in Kansas within weeks as the state’s lawmakers continue to hear evidence about its potential impact, according to Representative Jan Kessinger.

Kessinger (pictured), whose sports betting bill died in committee earlier this year, told iGamingBusiness.com he plans to present new proposals soon after the Special Committee on Federal and State Affairs reports its findings following the hearings, which conclude tomorrow (Thursday). He said he also expects the committee itself to draft its own legislation.

Kessinger said he “senses there is an appetite” for betting in the state, in particularly around the Kansas City Metropolitan area. Citing figures that suggest betting could raise $75m for state coffers, Kessinger said “it is premature to guess on the tax rate, but my hope is that it is low enough to encourage participation by players and [be] profitable for both the vendors and the state.”

“It is probably a little early to predict what will be proposed, but I see mobile betting as an integral part of the law,” he said. “The casinos will be major players and my hope is that we can set up something for Lottery Keno social settings to have on-site sports betting also.

“A big plus for sports betting in social environments is that it will create fun, excitement and a reason to stay at locations serving adult beverages, food and [showing] televised sports. That creates jobs and increased profits for the business.”

The Special Committee’s first day of testimony and discussion on Tuesday suggests Kansas will soon join the growing number of US betting states, with the majority of those present discussing the matter in terms of when rather than if it will be legalised.

Kansas Public Radio reports that some committee members expressed concerns over mobile gambling. Rep John Carmichael said betting should be restricted to casinos and licensed venues, while Sen Rob Olson said state-sanctioned platforms could limit the potential threat of problem gambling.

An opponent of legalising betting, Rep Carmichael added that he believes the potential boost to state revenues would be outweighed by regulatory costs and the impact of gambling addiction.

Earlier this year a bill introduced by Rep Kessinger was assessed by the lawmakers on the Committee on Federal and State Affairs. The bill ultimately died in committee, just weeks before PASPA was repealed by the Supreme Court.

Bill HB2792 would have allowed the Kansas State Lottery alone to conduct sports betting. By charging a 6.75% tax on revenues, Rep Kessinger said legalised sports betting could bring in an additional $75m (€66m) to state coffers, and also proposed a 0.25% integrity fee payable to sports leagues.

The bill would have allowed betting at existing facilities, such as casinos and racetracks, and via mobile devices. It was supported by the Kansas State Lottery and backed by the National Basketball Association (NBA), whose general counsel Dan Spillane testified to the Committee when the legislation was under discussion.