After Kansas lawmakers in the House passed a final agreement to legalize sports betting, a spokesman for Senate leadership confirmed Wednesday that the Senate plans to take up the bill when lawmakers return for veto session April 25.
Under the plan, there’s a 10% tax on the state’s sports betting revenue, which some experts say lawmakers may need be re-evaluated if there’s a Kansas City Chiefs move up in the air.
“The current proposal is 10%, whereas, for example, New York state gets over 50%. So it could bring money in the millions, but in terms of the money that would be needed to really help get a sports team — the Chiefs maybe, a stadium — it’s going to need a lot more,” political analyst Dr. Bob Beatty said.
Beatty said with the final bill, there may be room to consider increasing the tax another 10%.
The Jayhawks basketball win also excited fans, who could soon be able to bet on upcoming games, if the bill passes. Beatty said big wins like this, and other recent developments in the NFL, like the Buffalo Bills deal for a new stadium, may also build up the motivation to strike a deal.
“The Buffalo Bills announced a very elaborate agreement to build a new stadium partnership between the state and the owners of the team, and a lot of people are looking at that and saying, ‘Maybe Kansas can do something like that with the Kansas City Chiefs,'” Beatty said. “I don’t think it’s just a bluff. I think it’s very possible because money talks in sports.”
Kansas lawmakers have also recently shown they’re willing to invest in major projects, earmarking millions of dollars in incentives to attract a $4 billion-dollar mystery company earlier this year.
Their sports betting bill also includes a last-minute amendment to establish a new fund that would be used to attract professional sports teams to Kansas. This would set aside 80% of the state’s tax revenue from sports betting to go to new ventures, like building a sports facility.
Eventually, especially if it comes to the Chiefs, Beatty said a possible scenario could be a bidding war between Kansas and competing states.
But Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has already said they’ll fight to keep the team, and a team representative also told Missouri lawmakers they’re looking at renovating Arrowhead Stadium.
“In the end, sports teams do end up going with whoever has the best offer,” Beatty said. “The mood right now is it’s very possible Kansas could land a new Chiefs stadium on the Kansas side.”
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