Kansas Sports Betting Bill Passes

Kansas Sports Betting Bill Passes

Sports betting is coming to Kansas, and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs already look like the big winner.

Friday, the Kansas Senate passed Bill 84 by a 21-13 count, legalizing sports gambling in the state. The bill is expected to be signed by Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and sets a timeline of having the activity live as early as Jan. 1, 2023.

Kansas imposed a 10% tax on all sports wagering (3% on horse racing), with 80% of that revenue directed to a newly-created “Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund” and the rest to a “White Collar Crime Fund.”

Did we mention that the Kansas City Chiefs play in Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas City, Kansas?

Is Kansas really a threat to grab the Chiefs?

The Chiefs play in Arrowhead Stadium, seven miles away from the Kansas border. Arrowhead is considered one of the loudest and best stadiums in the National Football League.

The Chiefs ranked fifth in home attendance in the NFL last season, averaging 73,227 fans a game.

However, Arrowhead is also one of the oldest stadiums in the NFL, having opened in August of 1972. NFL teams are notorious for seeking public financial help to finance new stadiums or using the threat of leaving an old stadium to get a new one.

The bill reads in part:

“80% of the remaining moneys credited to the Lottery Operating Fund from the sports wagering revenues deposited in the Lottery Operating Fund would be required to be transferred to the sports fund.”

However, Kansas lawmakers may want to check on the price of stadiums. The Kansas Lottery estimated it could bring in about $10 million from sports gambling by 2025, and a portion of that would go into the Sports Fund.

The Las Vegas Raiders new Allegiant Stadium cost $1.9 billion. SoFi Stadium, home of the NFL’s Chargers and Rams, cost between $5 and $6 billion. How is Kansas going to get a stadium for the Chiefs for $10 million? That barely buys a practice facility.

Reading the fine print for Kansas

Under the 28-page bill, the Kansas Lottery and Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will share oversight of sports wagering conducted by the four state-owned casinos.

Background investigations will start by Aug. 15, and regulations for advertising for Kansas sports betting will be in place by Jan. 1, 2023.

Some of those advertising regulations include:

Ensuring advertisements don’t target children or minors
Limits the form, timing, and location of the advertisements
A self-restriction list where an individual can voluntarily opt out of any gambling forms

The bill received bipartisan support and opposition.

“It’s always really tight when you have these somewhat controversial issues because you’ve got both Democrats and Republicans who oppose gaming of any kind,” said Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Democrat to KansasCity.com.

“When we have bi-state stuff, with Missouri getting close, that’s pushed us. And plus, finally the stakeholders decided to adult and come together on things.”

More Kansas vs. Missouri sports betting, Part 21,367

It’s not just hyperbole, Kansas and Missouri are rivals in sports. That rivalry has stretched into the legislatures, where both states were talking about becoming the first of the two to allow sports wagering in their states this spring.

The Missouri sports betting bill is tied up on the tax rate and whether the Missouri Lottery can place video gambling machines at social clubs and truck stops. The Missouri legislative session ends May 13.

Kansas is attempting to poach the Chiefs from Missouri with sports betting revenue. It might all just be gamesmanship, but this will put pressure on Missouri to make a counter-proposal.

Author: Tyler Gutierrez