The success of NJ sports betting has opened the eyes of many states across the country. As New Jersey closes in on $1 billion in handle, other states have made strides with their sportsbooks. PA sports betting and WV sports betting have set themselves up in 2019 to benefit greatly from sports betting. Pennsylvania is off to a great start and just saw SugarHouse Sportsbook and Rivers Casino Sportsbook officially open as 2018 comes to an end. Meanwhile, West Virginia launched the BetLucky app on Dec. 27, allowing WV players to place sports bets from their mobile devices within the state. Part of the Delaware North company, BetLucky Sportsbook is expected to join other states in 2019. With sports betting being a huge success, Kansas is now looking to approve legislature to legalize sports betting.
There are some hurdles for Kansas sports betting advocates to jump over before legislature can be approved. Senator Bud Estes is insisting that before lawmakers decide on joining the gaming industry in 2019, they should attend a gaming conference.
The event will be sponsored by gaming operators themselves, which may be why the idea was met with discord from Democrats, with one lawmaker calling it a typical “quid pro quo”.
Kansas is currently in a state of determining the boundaries of KS sports betting and there are plenty of important decisions left on the itinerary. This includes the future of KS sports betting mobile apps and state tax rates on KS sportsbooks.
KS Sports Betting Committee In Gray Area
Senator Bud Estes has appointed a special committee to oversee the process. Last Tuesday they took the time to hear from Kansas casinos and major sports leagues, among whom were the MLB and NBA.
Apparently, the next thing on the committee’s to-do list is visiting New Orleans for a gaming conference at Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel. The conference will be hosted by some of the most major casino operators in the U.S., who will also be covering the lawmakers’ trip expenses.
Although Ohio Sen. William Coley, a member of The National Council of Legislators from Gaming States, insisted that the idea behind this trip is to have a discussion in a “more relaxed environment,” Wichita Democrat Rep. John Carmichael saw the invitation an “embarrassment to the legislature.”
Carmichael was especially outraged at the suggestion that the legislation could be signed right after the conference, after the lawmakers enjoyed a vacation on gaming operators’ tab. Despite the efforts of Republicans to deny the fact that there are gaming entities behind the organisation of the conference, it’s been confirmed that Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Scientific Games and Sportradar are participating with sponsorship. In fact, these names are listed on the council’s own website.
All five of these sponsors are heavily involved with the U.S. sports betting industry. This makes it quite easy to understand Carmichael’s concern with the KS sports betting committee’s ability to remain objective after attending the New Orleans conference.
Kansas state Republicans, with Ron Estes on the front line, nevertheless stuck to their guns and continued to refute Carmichael’s accusations. Estes stood behind the conference, insisting its mission was to help lawmakers collect information about the gaming industry, which, in his words, is something Carmichael needs “as bad as anybody.”
Future Unknown For Sports Leagues And KS Mobile Apps
With all the inter-partisan squabble, the prospect of seeing a KS sportsbook live seems to get further and further into the future. Lawmakers are still behind on pinpointing crucial specifics in KS sports betting regulation.
NBA, MLB and PGA lobbyists are demanding 0.25% royalties from Kansas sportsbooks and KS sports betting apps. Naturally, casino operators are sitting on the far end of the table, saying royalties for sports leagues would make the industry less economically viable.
The debate for KS mobile apps is also far from finished. There’s a lot of support for mobile sports betting in the state, but the possible domains, such as casinos, bars and convenience stores are still undecided.
If there’s any hope of seeing KS sports betting live next year, both sides of legislation need to start making compromises before January.