ANTE UP: Sports betting coming to Kansas with Gov.’s signature on new bill

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Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 2:00 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansans will soon be able to place bets on their favorite sports teams with the Governor’s signature freshly inked on the state’s new sports betting bill.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly signed House Substitute for Substitute for Senate Bill 84 - the state Sports Betting bill - into law on Thursday, May 12. The bill would authorize sports betting under the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act and historical horse race machines under the Kansas Parimutuel Racing Act.

“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” Gov. Kelly said. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants, and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”

Kelly noted that the bill also allows state casinos to use digital platforms and create sportsbooks.

SB 84 was introduced into the Senate on Jan. 26 and referred to the Committee on Federal and State Affairs which held multiple hearings on the bill. On March 1, the Committee finally recommended the bill be passed.

Senators Mike Thompson (R-Overland Park), Brenda Dietrich (R-Topeka), J.R. Claeys (R-Salina), and Marci Francisco (D-Lawrence) and Representatives John Resman (R-Olathe), Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita), Francis Awerkamp (R-St. Marys), and Brandon Woodard (D-Lenexa) John Barker (R-Abilene), Vic Miller (D-Topeka) and Adam Thompson (R-Olathe) all motioned to amend the bill. However, only amendments from Dietrich, Francisco, Resman, Barker, Miller and Thompson were adopted.

The House then voted 88-36 under emergency final action to pass the bill as amended.

However, the Senate did not concur with amendments and requested a Conference Committee, of which Sens. Robert Olson (R-Olathe), Richard Hilderbrand (R-Baxter Springs) and Oletha Faust-Goudeau (D-Wichita) were appointed as conferees. On April 1, the Senate replaced Hilderbrand with Sen. Mike Petersen (R-Wichita). The House appointed Reps. Barker, Tory Marie Arnberger (R-Great Bend) and Louis Ruiz (D-Kansas City).

Finally, on April 28, the Houe voted 73-49 and the Senate voted 21-13 to adopt the conference committee report and pass the bill.

On May 6, the bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor for her signature.

“I was excited to pass sports wagering in Kansas, it’s something that Kansans are already doing, and it will bring additional tax revenue to our state to help with our needs,” Sen. Rob Olson said. “My constituents have pushed for this legislation for years, and now, the next time we have a significant sporting event in our state, Kansans will be able to bet on their hometown team.”

In addition to sports betting, Kelly said SB 84 allows venues like restaurants and nonprofit fraternal or veterans organizations to host sports wagering.

“We have heard from our constituents for years about the need for a sports wagering program here in Kansas, both for the value it will bring to their lives and for the revenues, it will generate for our state,” Sen. Faust-Goudeau, Ranking Member of the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, said. “I’m proud to have contributed to this package that will do just that and revitalize my community by creating jobs in Wichita.”

Kelly noted that SB 84 preserves trib al sovereignty to allow the negotiation of a new or existing gaming compact regarding sports betting.

With Kelly’s newly inked signature, the document will head to the Secretary of State’s Office for printing in the Session Laws, which usually happens on July 1 and codifies the bill as law.

With sports betting legal in the Sunflower State, the Kansas City Chiefs have said they would consider moving their home stadium to the Kansas side of the city which could bring in millions for the state.

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