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Kansas Sports Betting Bill Hearing Highlighted By Rep In Barstool Gear

BetThe journey to legalize Kansas sports wagering continued this week.

Kansas representatives discussed SB 84 during a Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee meeting Thursday. The bill advanced through the Senate earlier this month, 26-12.

The Kansas Lottery estimates bettors could wager more than $600 million annually in the state.

Kansas sports betting bill inclusions

Under the bill, the state’s four casinos can open a retail sportsbook and partner with up to three mobile Kansas sportsbooks. Sports venues — like Kansas Speedway and Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park — could also partner for an online sports betting area.

Bets can be placed on in-state college events in the proposed bill. The state would enact a 5.5% tax rate on in-person bets and 8% on online wagers.

The bill also allows Kansas tribes operating casinos to renegotiate their pacts to include Kansas sports betting.

KS sports betting hearing proponents

Government affairs executives from Penn National Gaming and Boyd Gaming testified in support of the bill.

Both Boyd’s Ryan Soultz and Penn’s Jeff Morris spoke to limiting sports betting in Kansas to casinos and skin partners.

The pair also wants to keep official league data requirements out of the bill.

“What may be ‘commercially reasonable’ to the leagues — who face no competition — may be inconsistent with the thin margin reality of sportsbook operators in a hyper-competitive environment,” Morris said.

BetMGM, FanDuel and DraftKings have also backed the bill during the process.

Barstool has a fan on the committee

Another proponent sat quietly during the hearing wearing a Barstool Sports “Positive Vibes Only” sweatshirt: committee member Rep. Samantha Poetter Parshall.

Following the hearing, she tweeted her support of legalizing sports betting in Kansas, and specifically her preferred choice:

Wearing my @BarstoolSports sweater to Federal & State Affairs bc we are hearing a bill to legalize sports wagering in Kansas. It’s time for apps like @BSSportsbook to be legal in Kansas. #PositiveVibesOnly #ToTheMoon #ksleg pic.twitter.com/9XMG40FGdG

— Samantha Poetter Parshall (@SamanthaPoetter) March 18, 2021

Opposition to KS sports betting bill

Rep. Francis Awerkamp spoke against the bill. Awerkamp’s main gripe is the lack of money that would actually end up in the state’s funds under the bill. Without citing any attributed evidence, he said if only the Kansas Lottery runs sports betting, the state could end up with $27 million annually vs. $2.5 million if run through the casinos.

Also against the bill are multiple greyhound race proponents because the bill excludes dog races.

Nick Reinecker said the money funneled towards a problem gambling fund needs to be more explicit in its language. Deb Stidham, president of the Kansas Association of Addiction Professionals, was a neutral witness recommending 2% of revenues head to the Problem Gambling and Addiction Fund.

Fill ‘er up with parlays?

Fuel True Executive Director Tom Palace spoke on behalf of the state’s energy and convenience stores.

“We stand against this bill for one reason: we’re not in it,” Palace said. “We’re always looking for more people in our stores. This would be a natural fit.”

Differences from Kansas HB 2199

House Bill 2199 stalled within House committees.

The bill takes Kansas sports wagering outside the casinos, and allows convenience stores and retailers that sell lottery tickets to offer sports betting.

The retail bets would be simple outcome bets, with in-game betting still under the casinos. The House bill would tax the state’s retail bets at 14% and online bets at 22%.

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