By DYAN LYSEN
Kansas News Service
Legal sports gambling is officially coming to Kansas.
Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday signed a sports wagering bill into law, setting the stage for fans to place bets on teams like the Chiefs, Royals and Jayhawks as soon as this summer.
It will also bring in some money to the state government. The Kansas Lottery estimates taxes on legal sports betting would bring in up to $10 million a year by 2025.
“Legalizing sports betting will bring more revenue to our state and grow our economy,” Kelly said in a news release. “This is another mechanism that casinos, restaurants and other entertainment venues can now utilize to attract Kansans to their establishments.”
The law comes as dozens of other states had previously made betting on sports legal ever since the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a federal law banning sports gambling in most states.
Kansas lawmakers just narrowly approved the bill this year after close, late-night votes in both the House and Senate last month.
Republican Sen. Rob Olson said he was excited to finally legalize it because many Kansans wanted it.
“It’s something that Kansans are already doing, and it will bring additional tax revenue to our state to help with our needs,” 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."
However, Kansans won’t be able to place bets for some time. Here are some things you may may want to know about legal sports gambling:
When can Kansans start placing bets?
The law goes into effect on July 1. However, whether casinos will have their sports books up and running by then is unclear.
The law states that the Kansas Lottery will need to create a specific process for casinos to apply to offer sports gambling in certain ways, such as through a smartphone app. One of the deadlines for creating those rules is Sept. 1, 2022.
But it appears the processes all need to be in place by the fall — possibly just in time for bettors to put some money on the Kansas Chiefs to win their home opener.
Is there an age restriction to place a bet?
Yes, you must be 21 or older to gamble.
How will Kansans be able to place bets?
The Kansas Lottery will outsource the sports gambling operations to the casinos in Kansas. Those casinos will be allowed to launch online and in-person betting operations.
Bettors will need to be within the state of Kansas to place a wager. Republican Rep. John Barker, who carried the bill in the Kansas House this spring, said at one point that the apps will use geo-monitoring, which prohibits bets being placed when users cross state lines.
Sports teams and events may also allow for gambling at stadiums if they enter a marketing agreement with the casinos. Lawmakers specifically noted Sporting Kansas City’s Children's Mercy Park and the Kansas Speedway — which are both located near Hollywood Casino, one of the four state-approved casinos — as candidates.
In her news release, Kelly noted even restaurants would be able to offer sports gambling.
Dylan Lysen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen or email him at [email protected]