Kansas Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly (l.) last week signed a sports betting bill that lets the state’s four casinos open retail sportsbooks, partner with three online betting operators and open up to 50 retail venues.

Kansas Governor Signs Sports Betting Bill

At a press conference about another bill, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced she will sign SB 84, which will legalize in-person sports betting and allows up to 12 online sportsbooks. The Senate voted 21-13 and the House voted 73-49 on May 6 to pass the bill, while Kelly’s office remained silent until recently. A day later, she signed the bill.

Following Kelly’s signature on the bill, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will now start drafting license applications and rules for operators. Observers expect online betting to go live by late August. The law requires sports wagering to be operating no later than January 1, 2023.

Todd Allen, Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission government relations manager said, “If everything goes well, we could see some bets by the upcoming football season. We work closely with a lot of states, so some communications are moving forward with them to see what they’ve done and what’s worked well and what hasn’t. Maybe we can get through some of those infancy stages a little more smoothly than some other states.”

The bill authorizes the four state-run casinos to open retail sportsbooks. Each also can partner with up to three online betting operators to operate online wagering apps and work with up to 50 additional retail venues, including professional sports arenas, to install sports betting kiosks.

Native American tribes also can update their gaming compacts to offer sports betting.

Operators will pay a 10 percent tax on gaming revenue, with 80 percent going to a fund to attract a professional sports team to the state. Analysts said sports betting could generate $10 million in annual revenue for the state.

Kansas Lottery Executive Director Stephen Durrell said, “It’s an exciting time. It’s something the people of the state of Kansas have wanted for a really long time. I think that just making sure that we implement it to the best of our ability, makes it a little bit stressful. But for the most part, it’s more exciting than stressful right now.”