The third time seems to be the charm in Kansas. The Sunflower State could adopt sports betting legislation as soon as 2020 and could be up and running by the football season if things progress quickly through the Kansas House of Representatives. Pressure from border states that already have sports betting and the convenience of casino gambling in the state are key factors as to why Kansas is moving forward.
At time of writing, the bill approved by the State Senate had just over two months to get passage through the House before the state’s legislative session comes to a close on May 31. If it doesn’t happen this year, some sort of bill should absolutely pass in 2021 given how close everybody is to coming to an agreement.
Kansas has four casinos and would also allow wagering at Children’s Mercy Park, an MLS stadium, and Kansas Speedway, a twice-a-year stop for the NASCAR Cup Series. Coincidentally, there is a Hollywood Casino right next to the NASCAR track, so offering gambling at the track itself is really just a matter of convenience more than anything.
SB 283 and HB 2671 are the bills going head-to-head at this point in time. The interesting thing is that both bills are extremely friendly for both players and operators. The key difference between the two bills is that the House bill allows for more oversight from the state lottery. Either bill would greatly expand gaming in the state to include sports betting in both retail and online forms. Mobile betting in Kansas would provide a huge boost to the economy and would likely open up the state to a lot of competition, with sports betting operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, Fox Bet, theScore Bet, William Hill, and others all vying for one of the eight skins expected to be available.
Competition will be hot and heavy for skins because Kansas is expected to have a low tax rate for gross gaming revenue and also for online wagering. A 7.5% tax is going to be great for the consumer because there is nothing cost-prohibitive for the operators that want to get involved. Ultimately, no tax rate has prevented operators from setting up shop and taking wagers in other states, but Kansas is going to have some friendly tax rates and policies irrespective of the bill that gets passed or if the bill winds up being a combination of the House and Senate versions.
The particulars are up for the politicians to decide. What matters for you and I is that Kansas is going to have sports betting in either 2020 or 2021. With more pressing matters regarding the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, it wouldn’t be a tremendous stunner to see things move a little bit slower in 2020, but bordering states are either going live or have legislation that is close to being approved. If Kansas can get online, avoid lost revenue to Colorado, and get a piece of the Kansas City dollar before Missouri gets up and running, it would provide a big financial boon for the state.
With that in mind, we’re going to see online betting in Kansas sooner rather than later.
How Do I Bet on Sports in Kansas?
Unfortunately for residents of this landlocked state, traveling is the only way right now, but that should change by the fall of 2020 or early in 2021. Colorado is going live with sports betting in May 2020, so that will be one option, though most of the population in Kansas is in the eastern half of the state, so that is a long way to go. Nebraska and Missouri are working on their own legislation.
Oklahoma has tribal casinos and the tribes seem to be pushing a little bit for sports betting to combat Arkansas, which currently offers retail sports betting only.
Colorado will be up and running soon, but Iowa is already up and running for those that want to drive over to Kansas City and then drive north on either I-35 or I-29. Iowa also has mobile and online betting, so you would only have to get inside the borders of the state in order to place your wagers.
Realistically, though, the best course of action in Kansas is to sit tight. Call your senator or representative and voice your desire to have a sports betting bill pass. Once that happens, a lot of operators are going to be tripping over themselves to get in the game. Once Kansas does go live, and it will in either 2020 or 2021, it is going to be huge for the residents of the state.