Sports betting in Kansas nears legalization, raises concerns with addiction

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Kansas is nearing the finish line of legalizing sports betting and using it to add another professional sports team to the state’s roster, ideally luring the Chiefs to the Kansas side of the Kansas City metro from Missouri.

Early Friday morning, the Kansas Senate sent the bill to Governor Laura Kelly who is expected to sign it. Kansas would become the 36th state to legalize sports betting.

“There’s a massive amount of interest right now and this is really all about fan engagement,” said Sportrader Head of Government Affairs Brandt Iden.

Most sports betting in Kansas will b run through the four state-owned casinos that can partner with sportsbook platforms to allow for onsite and online betting. Major League Soccer team, Sporting KC will also allow betting at its stadium in Kansas City, Kansas.

Tribal casinos also could eventually open sportsbooks.

State revenues are very important but it’s also protecting consumers, and this is about consumer protections and providing those protections in a regular market,” Iden said.

With the new law, each bet is taxed at 10 percent. Most of the revenue will fund the state’s effort to lure in a professional sports team.

“This is the first time that’s ever been done, and will it be successful? I don’t know, but it’s a great test case,” Iden said.

Final regulations are to be in place by the start of next year.

“That’s as long as the timeline is met,” Iden said. “Folks in Kansas will be able to wager on the Super Bowl in 2023. That’s a very quick timeline because in most states, it takes 8 to 12 months. “

This comes with concern.

“When legislatures are creating new laws, you need to look at both sides of the coin. Not just how much it’s going to bring in, but how much debt it’s going to cause our citizens,” said Kansas certified gambling counselor and South Central Kansas Problem Gambling Task Force Chair Stephenie Roberts.

Gambling counselors say there are a few barriers, especially with mobile apps.

“(I have) had clients in the past who, on every break they had, they were placing a bet, which puts them at great risk,” Roberts said.

The bill Kelly is expected to sign does include some prevention measures including a self-restriction list from placing bets, banning casinos from issuing lines of credits to fund bets and a portion of revenue collected into the fund for problem gambling and other additions. That money goes to providing no-cost treatment services.

“Figure out how much you can afford to lose and that’s all you should be gambling,” Roberts said.

The Kansas Problem Gambling help line is 1-800-522-4700. The help line can connect people to no-cost counseling and treatment services.

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