Kansas to Look at Sports Betting
Kansas is one of the states that are considering the legalization of sports gambling and the support in favor of regulation is increasing. One of the frontrunners of support for the idea is Democratic Governor-elect Laura Kelly who supported legalization of sports betting in the state during her election campaign.
Commercial casino gaming is already allowed in Kansas, which makes sports betting the next logical move for the state. The problem lies in the details, as elaborated by Sen. Bud Estes. The Dodge City Republican is the chairman of a committee that will handle bills related to casinos and gambling. He said that he doesn’t want to ‘skate on thin ice” with something they don’t know much about. He said that sports betting is “probably” going to happen in some form. Therefore, he is urging all lawmakers to be present in Topeka on Tuesday and Wednesday for a special interim committee session on this topic.
The next session of the legislature begins from January 14, and no legislation has been drafted for sports betting yet. One of the key concerns for the lawmakers will be to ensure that the tax rate on sports betting isn’t too high. When it happens, people eventually turn to illegal wagers. The lawmakers also want to focus on ensuring that there is necessary oversight to help prevent cheating and frauds in the games.
Kansas also needs to decide where the bets could be placed. They must consider providing bets at casinos, sports bars and through mobile apps. They also need to decide who gets to manage the ecosystem in the state. Estes said that the state could be making a mess if they create legislation for interest groups. He noted that the committee would not start rolling out bills right away and called for being smarter and more educated about the sports betting scene in the country.
Republican Rep. Jan Kessinger, of Overland Park, tried introducing a bill in the last session which went through hearing but didn’t gain much support. Budget officials estimated that Kessinger’s bills could have generated $75 million every year. The Rep. is expected to bring his bill again to the next session.