Another state has joined the list of those that have legalized sports betting. This time, it was the state of Kansas that passed legislation to allow the sports betting industry to be a part of the wagering landscape in the Sunflower State. And from the looks of things, bettors in Kansas are poised to enjoy a rather robust menu of sports betting options.
The passage of SB 283 in Kansas required debate and a rather close vote, with votes in favor of legalization outnumbering those looking to keep legal wagering out by a 23-15 margin. With a deadline to pass the bill of Thursday, February 27, the state senate managed to get the bill passed one day before the deadline.
More important than the details of the passage of the legislation is what the passage of the bill will mean for sports bettors in Kansas. For one thing, it will mean the ability to bet at both physical locations as well as online. That is a big win for bettors in a state that occupies a large amount of land in the center of the United States, allowing bettors to make bets quickly without having to travel great distances to put them in.
Also important is the fact that both college and professional sports will be welcomed for betting under the new legislation. While some states have made exclusions related to college sports, Kansas has not done so, which will yield a strong menu of wagering options no matter how bettors choose to access them.
While the passage of SB 283 through the state senate is a huge win for sports bettors throughout Kansas, there are additional steps that need to take place before the bill goes into law. The first of those steps will be for the state’s House of Representatives to vote on it. Should the bill pass through the house as well, it will go to the governor, who will sign it into law. Should that happen without any problems, there will still be hurdles to clear in order for sports betting to take place in the state.
Once the bill is signed into law, the four casino operators in the state will need to get their sports betting products up and running and will need to issue licenses to any online sportsbook providers that are approved to operate in Kansas. There was an attempt to take the power away from the casinos and allow the states to negotiate directly with online operators, but that attempted change to the legislation did not see the light of day.
Per the legislation that passed the senate, each land-based casino will be permitted to award licenses to two online operators. This means that there could be up to eight online sportsbook options for bettors to choose from, which would make Kansas a competitive state in the online sports betting marketplace when compared to states that have already legalized.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the sports betting bill that took its first steps in Kansas is the fact that it seems to understand the needs of the people living there. With the only major professional sports team in the state being Sporting KC of Major League Soccer and with the passion people in Kansas have for their collegiate Kansas Jayhawks and Kansas State Wildcats, the bill needed to protect the ability to bet on college sports, and it did just that. And with there only being four physical casino operators in a state as big as Kansas, online sports betting was important to preserve as well. If the rollout of legal sports betting in Kansas is done with a similar attentiveness to the residents of Kansas, it could be a very player-friendly market.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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