FF12: Sports betting in Kansas is still illegal, even if you go online

Courtesy: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar // MGN
Courtesy: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar // MGN(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 30, 2019 at 5:13 PM CST
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The spread, according to Las Vegas analyzers, has the New England Patriots by 3 points come Sunday. But in Kansas if you were to put a monetary bet on the game, you'd be breaking the law.

In May of 2018, the United States Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports betting which paved the way for states to craft their own legislation. To date, ten states as well as Washington D.C. have either legalized sports betting or have passed bills that will do so.

Kansas is not one of them.

That doesn't mean Kansas is ignoring the change. In 2018, a bill was introduced into the statehouse to allow sports betting by expanding the Kansas lottery. It was discussed but legislators never took any action on it.

Already this session, there are several bills introduced by members of both parties that would allow sports betting. It's too soon to know how those will fare with lawmakers but regardless, they won't be passed or enacted in time for the Super Bowl game.

Many sports fanatics aren't bothered by that assuming they'll just go online to make their wagers. Not so fast. That's also illegal, according to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, unless you're in a state where sports betting is legal and you're only on a site that does intrastate betting. Again, Kansans don't have that opportunity either.

The push to allow legal sports betting is being led by the American Gaming Association. In a conference call with Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Sara Slane, Slane said eight out of ten Americans polled support sports betting.

Slane said the legal industry has to compete with the illegal industry which isn't paying taxes or facing any regulation. She mentioned Kansas along with 14 other states as ones who have active or pre-filed legislation legalizing sports betting.

AGA research for Sundays' game shows one in six Americans watching the Super Bowl have either bet or will bet and those bets total roughly $6 billion. Slane said that number is roughly the amount Americans bet legally in all of 2018, though it's hard to know if that number is accurate since many who bet illegally aren't going to admit to doing so.

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