Sports betting could soon be legal in Kansas.

Published: May. 14, 2018 at 8:38 PM CDT
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The Supreme Court overturned a federal law Monday morning that outlawed sports gambling in most states.

With the 1992 law out of the way, states can now make their own choices.

Some Kansas lawmakers want to start working on a bill that would regulate sports gambling in the state.

There were already four bills this last session introduced in anticipation of this Supreme Court ruling, but they didn't have time to get to most of them before the end of session.

People have differing opinions on sports gambling.

“I would definitely be interested, I love March Madness too, so I'm sure that would be a huge part, and if it brought money back to Kansas that would be awesome too,” said Logan Carter of Wichita.

“I believe that gambling used to be a small personal pleasure, now it is an evil activity that is designed to addict people to the gambling itself,” said Dan Rouser of Wichita.

So would sports gambling in Kansas be just for pro teams, or also college sports?

Those are some questions lawmakers will have to answer.

"There's betting going on now, I can't think of any office probably that during NCAA Tournament doesn't have brackets that members of their office bet on, it's illegal and the state does not get any revenue from it,” said Rep. John Barker, R-70th District.

Some lawmakers want to hold a committee this fall that would craft a bill that could be presented in January.

Bob Hanson, CEO of the Wichita Sports Commission has concerns about gambling.

"Problems that it causes sometimes and we haven't heard of it for a long time, many years back when guys were shaving points and people get to them, and get them to throw a free throw, it becomes very damaging to sports,” said Hanson.

Meanwhile, some Wichita sports fans have found interesting ways to place a bet.

"Which is with cryptocurrencies, my friend knows I'm obsessed with them, but it's kind of an easy way, it's almost like fake money to me because I don't put real money into it. So I'd definitely be interested,” said Lucas Hanson of Wichita.

Lawmakers say if they have a bill ready to be introduced in January it could law by next summer.

Representative Jan Kessinger introduced the bill, and he says he envisions the Kansas Lottery running sports betting as another game, with lottery vendors able to choose whether or not to offer the betting. He says casinos could possibly offer their own form of the betting, or utilize the Kansas Lottery game.

"The opportunity is there now. $1.5 billion in Kansas is bet on sports. Most of that is going through Nevada, or illegal," Kessinger says. "That’s an opportunity where, if we own it, Kansas generates revenue from it."

Kessinger believes Kansas regulating the betting at the state level will cut down on illegal betting.

"This takes away whatever criminal element there may be. We would legalize it and control it," says Kessinger. "There are a lot of street bookies, or illegal betting operations, where the money is going now."

Speaking about the Supreme Court ruling, Boyd Gaming, which owns the Kansas Star Casino said in a statement today:

Boyd Gaming is excited by today’s Supreme Court decision, and views the expansion of sports betting as a growth opportunity for our Company. We have more than 40 years of experience in sports betting, we operate one of the largest sports book networks in the state of Nevada, and by the end of the year we expect to have operations in 10 different states. As a result, Boyd Gaming is now in excellent position to become a leading player in the growth and expansion of sports betting across the country. Whether we ultimately offer sports betting in specific states will depend on the rules and tax rates set forth by each state. It is still too early to say which specific opportunities we will pursue, but we are monitoring the situation very closely, and are prepared to act quickly as individual states move forward with legislation.

Many are concerned with the impact this may have on the integrity of the games themselves. The American Athletic Conference released this statement today:

The Conference is reviewing the Supreme Court’s ruling on PASPA that was handed down today, which will permit states to legalize sports gambling. The NCAA is examining the decision as well, with the intention that its policies conform to the ruling. We will work with the NCAA to understand fully the decision’s implications for college sports wagering.

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