Lawmakers getting closer to a vote on sports betting

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Kansas could soon be the next state to legalize sports betting.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee debated a sports betting bill on Wednesday. If passed, the bill would let casinos offer the type of gambling both in person and on a mobile app.

Kansas would become the 21st state to allow some sort of sports betting. In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow it.

Supporters said allowing it would benefit casinos.

“We believe sports wagering would be a very substantial amenity to the existing casino operations,” said Matthew Bergmann, a lawyer representing Boot Hill Casino and Kansas Crossing Casino.

“It will increase tourism to the casinos and the specific zones designated by law, and also it will increase revenues to the state of Kansas,” he said.

Lawmakers debated sports betting last year, but a vote was never held.

The chairman of the committee, Dodge City Senator Bud Estes, said the time has given lawmakers a chance to see how other states are fairing.

“Now they’re set up and running, and they’re pretty much a guide for us, know what will work and what won’t work,” Estes said.

The Kansas Lottery would oversee the system.

Both casinos and the government would take in a portion of seven to 10 percent for each bet made.

Estes said casinos would benefit from getting more people coming to their locations.

“It is a revenue flow for them, again not huge, where their advantage is going to be is drawing people into them, maybe come into sports bet, well then decide they want to do some slot machines or have dinner or whatever,” Estes said. “It increases their traffic.”

Estes said the committee will work another bill next week and hopes to work out the differences. He said a vote on the matter could come in a few weeks. It would then head to the full Senate.

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