KANSAS (KSNT) – The Kansas House of Representatives voted to pass a bill legalizing sports betting in Kansas on Wednesday.
After hours of debate, the House passed Senate Bill 84 , 88-36.
The bill authorizes sports wagering under the Kansas expanded lottery act.
The House amended the Senate bill to include language from their own version of the bill, House Bill 2740, and also added amendments to address gambling addictions.
Rep. Vic Miller, D-Topeka, said he supported the underlying bill, but also introduced an amendment to prevent gaming facility managers from offering a line of credit to people that are betting
“I think it’s time Kansas joined the rest of the country in moving in this direction. Doesn’t really do us any good to stand still. Other than it lets money leak out of the state and others around the country make the money, ” Miller said. “So, I don’t have a problem with the bill, but, it does have consequences. I have seen it first-hand. I know how devastating it can be. I don’t think this amendment goes nearly far enough to address it, but at least, it’s something.”
Miller’s amendment would also have facilities display tools that set limits on the amount of time and money a person spends on any interactive sport wagering platform, along with providing information on ways to seek treatment for addiction.
Another amendment was also added by Representative Adam Thomas, R-Olathe, that would tag two percent of the revenue received by the state for the state problem gambling fund. The money would also be used to help people suffering from gambling addiction.
Both amendments were adopted.
Still, some representatives expressed their concerns and opposition to the bill.
“We hear a lot in this body about the most vulnerable people in Kansas, and yet, today, once again, just like we did with the casinos, we will talk about having a gambling fund to help the addiction,” said Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita. “It does not make a lot of sense to say, let’s create another addiction for the most vulnerable in Kansas.”
In 2021, Kansas lawmakers failed to pass a bill to legalize sports betting in the state.
Supporters of the measure have argued that the bill will have major financial benefits for the state, along with allowing Kansas to finally move forward with other states that have legalized sports wagering.
Earlier this month, Sen. Rob Olson, R-Olathe, who chairs the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs, said the Senate is weighing options, like including “apps” for smartphones.
In a hearing, the House’s version of the bill received strong support from casinos, but pushback from the greyhound industry.
Ultimately, lawmakers in the House and Senate will have reach an agreement to get something passed.
The bill could go to the Senate, or it could also go to a conference committee, where a smaller group of lawmakers from each chamber go over differences in the bill.
“We’ll see if we can’t work ’em out, but we got to see what passes before because there could be additional amendments put on,” Olson said. “But, I think it’s a bill that when me and the House get together we’ll be able to hash out the differences.”