Kansas achieved a feat years in the making last week when SB 84 cleared the Senate by a 21-13 margin. The bill legalizes sports betting in the state.
The bill, which gives the state’s four casinos and professional sports teams the right to partner with mobile and retail sportsbook operators, needs the signature of Gov. Laura Kelly to become law. Once that happens, which could be as early as this week, Kansas can join Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona and more in giving the green light to wagering.
It’s the biggest development in Kansas gaming since 2007, when the state’s legislature passed the Expanded Lottery Act, which granted the ability to own and operate a "destination casino resort" in each of the four quadrants of the state.
It also sets online sports betting in Kansas on course to launch by this fall, which would allow Kansans to wager on the Kansas City Chiefs when the 2022 NFL regular season kicks off in September.
A Step Forward for Kansans
Kansas House Rep. Stephanie Sawyer Clayton, who was one of the most vocal supporters of the state’s sports betting bill from the get-go, told BetKansas.com in an emailed statement she’s thrilled to see the state step up to the plate.
Clayton added she’s especially proud of the Kansas legislature’s ability to work together to get sports betting across the finish line, avoiding the pitfalls that have hurt similar efforts in neighboring Missouri.
“I am so proud of my colleagues, who worked together in a bipartisan fashion, together with our stakeholders, to bring sports wagering to Kansas,” Clayton said. “If the bill is signed, it will become law on July 1. It is my hope that our gaming stakeholders will have time to work with Rules and Regulations to move quickly to set parameters to begin gaming as soon as possible.”
Todd Allen, who serves as government relations manager for the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, told BetKansas.com his agency will work with the Kansas Lottery to get everything needed for wagering in place as soon as possible, so it can kick off this fall.
The lottery will work with gaming providers to ensure the stipulations of SB 84 are met, which is when the KRGC will step in and examine records and details, so the space is properly regulated, Allen said.
“Our goal as an agency is just to make sure that we’re able to uphold the integrity of gaming in Kansas,” Allen said. “It’s always been very important to the state of Kansas to make sure that sports wagering is run honestly. And that’ll be a task that our agency will take very seriously as we work through all the details.”
Beating the Show Me State to the Punch
While nothing can be done until Kelly signs SB 84, both the Kansas Lottery and Allen’s team are ready to knock out all the regulatory steps needed to get sports betting on track to launch.
Allen and Clayton also noted how special it is to have Kansas sports betting in place before their easterly neighbors, putting an end to the brief border betting war.
While Kansas’ bill just needs the governor’s signature to become law, the most recent Missouri sports betting bill is currently being derailed over the inclusion of video lottery terminals in the legislation.
For Allen, having legalized wagering in the state’s boundaries further motivates the KRGC team to ensure Kansans have a betting apparatus they’re proud of, whenever the market goes live.
“With our agency being a regulatory agency, we want to make sure we do things right,” Allen said. “And we want to meet our timelines and be able to get KS betting apps going for people in the state. But we also want to make sure that things are done fairly, and things are done the right way. So that people can feel good about being able to place a bet in Kansas.”