Kansas Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill Into Law

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Kansas became the latest state to pass the proper legislation to legalize sports betting within its borders. Governor Laura Kelly made everything official on Thursday, May 12 with her signature. With the new law in place, the regulatory process to actually bring legal sportsbooks to Kansas can get underway.

Kansas lawmakers were able to come together and pass SB 84 earlier in May. The framework of this bill clears the way for both retail and online sportsbooks. The Kansas Lottery will govern and regulate sports betting in the state. The timeline to go live is likely to run through the end of this year.

Each of the state’s land-based commercial and tribal casinos are eligible to offer retail sports betting as part of their overall gaming mix. In addition to their retail license, the casinos can also partner with up to three mobile operators to offer sports betting online.

Ahead of the change in law, Kansas Crossing Casino has already formed a partnership with PointsBet. Major US operators such as FanDuel and DraftKings are sure to enter into similar agreements in the coming months.

One other aspect of the licensing process include partnerships with in-state professional sports teams. This list would include the Kansas Speedway and Sporting KC as a member of Major League Soccer. Finally, casinos can extend their retail license through sports betting kiosks in certain business establishments. Under the new law, 20 percent of these kiosks must be placed in fraternal or veterans’ social clubs.

One of the more controversial aspects of SB 84 has to do with historical horse racing (HHR) machines. These type of gaming devices closely resemble slot machines. As a provision of SB 84, up to 1,000 of these gaming machines would be permitted at Wichita Greyhound Park. The former dog racing track has been idle since 2007.

In reaction to that gaming add-on, the Kansas Star Casino has already filed a lawsuit to reverse this part of the new law. The casino is only 15 miles away from the old dog track. It contends that the Kansas Lottery is in breach of contract given the close proximity of the two facilities.

The potential pitfalls of such a lawsuit could derail the entire process. However, the more likely outcome would only rule on the legality of HHR gaming. The state’s attorney general is already looking into the matter.

As was the case with a number of other states going through the regulatory process, Kansas still has some heavy lifting to get the sports betting industry off the ground. This is officially the 35th state in the US to formally legalize betting on sports. The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will be tasked with drafting the rules and regulations governing this industry.

Proponents of SB 84 remain optimistic that legal retail and mobile sportsbooks will be up and running by the start of the 2022 NFL season. However, that is a bet with bad odds. As was the case in many of those other legal markets, the timeline to go live will most likely take longer than expected.

Written by Dave Schwab, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.