Legalized, state-run sports betting in Kansas got closer to reality on Wednesday.
The Kansas House revived a plan to raise tax revenue from sports betting a day after a bill establishing sports betting appeared to stall in committee. House leadership used a procedural move to insert the plan into another bill and debate it throughout the chamber.
Where a committee faltered, the larger House gave overwhelming support in a vote of 88 to 36. The bill is now heading to the Senate, which approved a slightly sporting game plan last year. different.
The two houses should agree on a proposal soon to send it to the governor before the end of the session.
Under the terms of the bill, the Kansas Lottery would outsource sports betting to licensed casinos. It also allows sports betting to be placed online — with geographic limitations that would prevent bettors from placing bets from out of state — or in person.
Proponents of the plan said it was time for Kansas to join dozens of other states that have made sports betting legal since the US Supreme Court in 2018 struck down a federal law banning sports betting in most states.
Republican Rep. John Barker said it’s time to allow the Kansans to legally bet on the Chiefs, Jayhawks, NASCAR or the World Cup.
Democratic Rep. Tom Sawyer said sports betting already exists in Kansas through online betting services.
“It’s time we gave people a legal way to do that,” Sawyer said. “Let’s move Kansas forward and regulate and tax something we need to regulate.”
But opponents have warned against legalizing addictive behavior. Republican Representative Trevor Jacobs criticized lawmakers for deviating from the GOP’s longstanding opposition to gambling.
“We pushed the envelope, ladies and gentlemen,” Jacobs said. “Welcome to the new Republican Party.”
Critics also criticized putting the bill to a vote after it failed in committee on Tuesday when rifts opened in an element of the bill – designed to generate more political support – that would allow the Kansas Lottery to sell tickets online.
But scrapping online lottery ticket sales would reduce projected state revenue, so some lawmakers oppose scrapping it. They said the sales would bring in around $10 million, more than half of the bill’s total revenue.
Lawmakers could not reach an agreement on this issue, which stalled the bill. However, it was included in the bill which was approved on Wednesday.
Dylan Lysen reports on politics for the Kansas News Service. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanLysen or email him at dlysen(at)kcur(dot)org.
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