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Kansas Senate Passes Sports Betting Legislation

Hotly Contested Legislation Passes By 23-15 Margin And Heads To House

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Kansas is one step closer to legalizing sports betting after the Senate passed SB 283 by a 23-15 margin.

The bill would legalize betting both online and at retail locations. It would tax the brick-and-mortar operators 7.5 percent, while online sportsbooks would have revenue taxed at a 10 percent clip.

Each casino in the state would be allowed two licenses, meaning there could be up to eight online sportsbooks in Kansas is the bill is passed by the House. Betting would also be permitted at sporting events. Kansas is home to an MLS team and a NASCAR track, both of which would be allowed to offer betting.

According to The Topeka Capital-Journal, the bill was passed after a lengthy debate lasting six hours on the Senate floor. Many Democrats objected to the bill, citing a desire for the state to run the online aspect of the gambling themselves.

During the debate, Democrat Sen. Tom Holland introduced legislation of his own that would give the Kansas Lottery authority to run the online sportsbooks. The current bill allows casinos to expand their offerings without much more than applying for a license.

Holland told the local newspaper that the state should run the books so that it receives more of the revenue.

“We own this. We own the success. We own the failure. And my point to the body is, if we’re going to get into this business, it needs to be financially worth it for the state.”

Republican Sen. Rob Olson believes that it’s just as important to get legislation passed as soon as possible so that the government doesn’t lose out on revenue that is being spent in neighboring states.

“We’re never going to get that money back,” said Olson about citizens heading to Iowa to place sports bets. “We’re going to mess around here until we mess this bill up.”

According to estimates from the Kansas Lottery, the annual sports betting handle should be between $360-$600 million. It could be as much as $900 million once the market matures in five years.