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Kansas Governor Signs Legal Sports Betting Bill


Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday made her state the second of 2022 to legalize sports betting when she signed SB 84 into law.

The new law will allow for statewide mobile wagering owned by the lottery and with platforms tethered to existing casinos and two professional sports entities, as well as enabling retail betting at casinos, Childrens Mercy Park (MLS Sports KC), Kansas Raceway, and up to 50 “marketing entities,” which could include restaurants, bars, and other businesses.

The new law becomes effective July 1 and requires that operators launch on or before Jan. 1, 2023.

Due to a unique section of the Kansas constitution, the state technically owns all gaming in the state, and operators work as management service providers.

The regulators — the Kansas Lottery and the state racing and gaming commission — have already started reviewing the new law, separating out responsibilities, and begun the process of promulgating rules. The question of when the first bets could be placed, however, remains an open one.

“There are internal hopes that we can get things done in the near future,” lottery Executive Director Stephen Durrell told Sports Handle Thursday, while adding that he’ll prioritize a great product over a quick rollout. Kansas does have a mature, existing gaming infrastructure, and states in that situation are usually able to roll out wagering within a few months.

The new law also legalizes historical horse racing.

Barstool, FanDuel already have market access

Kelly’s signing made Kansas the second state to legalize this year behind Maine, where Gov. Janet Mills on May 2 signed a bill giving the right to mobile wagering to the state’s four tribes. The signing also means that Kansas has officially beaten Missouri in the latest “Border War,” as the state legislature there is set to close Friday with no action on wagering.

Under the Kansas law, sportsbooks will be taxed at 10% of gross gaming revenue, wagering on professional and college sports is allowed, and each of the state’s four existing casinos will be awarded up to three skins, meaning each could have as many as three digital platforms.

Boyd Gaming, JNB Gaming, and Penn National Gaming all operate casinos in the state, as does the state of Kansas (Boot Hill Casino). Penn National is expected to launch its Barstool Sportsbook platform, and it’s likely that FanDuel will also be in the state through its partnership with Boyd Gaming.

The new law earmarks 80% of the state’s tax share of sports betting revenue to be used trying to attract professional sports teams to the state, and 2% of revenue will be funneled to problem and responsible gambling programs.

Kansas also has a handful of tribal casinos throughout the state, and should a tribe choose to re-compact, it will be allowed to offer retail and digital wagering.

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