Just like most states in the US, sports such as dog and horse races and horse races started way back in the 18th century. By 1974 the state had already legalized racing through a state referendum where off-track betting also became authorized. For the next few decades, pari-mutuel and off-track betting were the order of the day in the state, as the only legal form of betting on sports. Unfortunately, however, this industry died down by 2010 after casino gambling was allowed in the state.
2015 – 2017
The first sigh of relief for local sports fans after the collapse of racing was in May 2015 when Governor of the Kansas State Sam Brownback signed SB267 into law. This bill excluded Fantasy sports leagues from the definition of gambling markets. Fantasy sports was considered to be a game of skill and therefore, not a game of chance. From there, there was a bit of stagnation for the progress of sports betting laws for over two years.
January 2018 marked history as the Federal and State Affairs Committee tabled HB2533 which sought to authorize sports betting at racetracks within Kansas. Later in March, the same body followed up HB2533 by introducing HB2752 which would develop a Kansas Sports Wagering Act.
Thanks to this act, both land-based and interactive sports betting via local retailers, racetracks and any other licensed dealers would be legal provided PASPA is repealed. The bill also proposed a 6.75% gross tax on sports betting. After a couple of amendments, SB445 was tabled in place of HB2752. However, it suggested a 0.25% of turnover compared to the 1% fee included in HB2752.
2019 to Date
SB23 was then introduced in January 2019 titled the Kansas Wagering Act which sought to authorize the Kansas Lottery to operate land-based and interactive sports betting. The bill also proposed a 0.25% integrity fee for professional sports leagues, capped at 5% operator Gross Win.
For the rest of the year, more attempts to authorize sports betting but none of them panned out. For instance, HB2390 and S222 were both introduced in March by Federal and State Affairs, calling for regulation of sports betting by the State Lottery, without the need for league data and a 6.75% tax rate.
In January 2020, there was a fresh bid for the regulation of sports betting by Kansas lawmakers when they tabled SB283 meant to legalize retail and interactive sports betting as well as mobile betting. This bill would give room for two skins per operator with a 7.5% tax rate for retail and 10% tax rate for interactive sports betting. We are waiting to see whether this is the bill that will finally allow Kansas locals to enjoy sports betting on land-based facilities and online.