Kansas Sports Betting Passes the House, Senate Adjourns for Three Week Break Prior to Voting

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Kansas sports betting has been progressing pretty speedily, even causing neighboring states like Missouri to spur on their own efforts. However, the momentum now seems to have screeched to a halt.

The Kansas state legislature held an overnight session last Friday during which Kansas sports betting was being discussed. During this time, the state House struggled to garner the support it needed to pass a final agreement on the discussed sports betting bill. However, the state House was eventually able to pass the Kansas sports betting plan after hours of discussions.

Then, the state senators left the bill in limbo when they left for a break prior to taking a vote on the sports betting plan. 

Both the state House and state Senate in Kansas have previously passed plans for sports betting that slightly differed. Then, last Friday saw the Kansas state House and state Senate forging a sports betting deal together through negotiations. The House and Senate Federal and State Affairs conference committee finalized their agreement on this bill, Senate Bill 84.

This agreement included provisions to address gambling addiction, to restrict greyhound racing, and to try to entice new professional sports teams to come to Kansas. This last provision is most likely influenced by the fact that there have been rumblings of a potential move for the Kansas City Chiefs. Speculation occurred on the House floor around the provision from lawmakers who thought the fund could be used to build a new stadium in the state. 

When the bill hit the floor of the House, some legislators expressed their desire to send the bill back for more work. However, that idea failed due to a tie vote. The agreement was lucky to be able to pass the House with the support it was able to muster.

Even with this struggle, Kansas sports betting has actually been able to garner support from both parties. State Representative Louis Ruiz indicated that many in the legislature have wanted to legalize sports betting for a while and that he feels the state is falling behind when it comes to the issue. However, some lawmakers felt that sports betting, and in turn, the sports betting plan, was being rushed.

There were some republicans in the state senate who expressed their opposition to legalizing sports betting in the state. Among them was state Representative Paul Waggoner, who brought up the fact that this bill would effectively double the amount of betting taking place in the state in one big move. He was hesitant to move forward with the deal because he felt they could do better, and once the deal has been made, there would be no opportunity to turn back.

The agreed-to plan would have the Kansas Lottery outsource sports betting to casinos that have been approved. It would allow for both in-person sports betting as well as online sports betting through mobile apps. The Kansas Lottery has estimated that tax revenue from legal Kansas sports betting could bring in up to $10 million a year to the state by the year 2025.

The state Senate adjourned before taking a vote on this plan and are now on a three-week break until the end of the month. When they come back, they can take up the issue again during the final part of the session.

Should the plan pass the state Senate after passing the state House, it is likely to get signed into law. Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has indicated her support for legalizing Kansas sports betting. So, once the agreement reaches her desk, it is expected that she will sign it. We shall see what happens when the state Senate reconvenes on April 25.

Written by Allie Nelson, our US Sports Betting Industry Expert.

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