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Midwestern Madness: Legal Betting In Kansas and Nebraska

Nebraska and Kansas sports betting won't arrive until sometime in the fall. Here's what bettors need to know before the launch.

Legal sports betting options are slowly swiping across the Midwest, making for an eventful athletics season in the fall. Kansas and Nebraska are only the latest states to authorize the operation of domestic sportsbooks. Still, it doesn’t seem like they’re too late to join the party. 

Kansas Betting On Its Way

Gov. Laura Kelly anticipates a speedy Kansas sports betting launch ahead of the NFL season start in September. The new gambling laws permit the operation of both in-person and online sportsbooks. 

But during a ceremonial signing in June, Kelly told reporters that residents could look forward to more than just placing wagers. 

Once wagering is live, twenty percent of all legal state sports betting revenues will be allocated towards education and infrastructure programs. The remaining eighty percent of collections will go towards attracting a second professional sports team to the state. 

The Governor was straightforward in that funds generated from sports betting won’t provide the tools necessary for a complete budget overhaul. Still, Kelly has maintained that even the smallest amounts of supplementary dollars can make immense changes. She says, 

“We’re not going to be balancing the budget on the revenues coming in from sports betting, but every little bit helps. It allows us to do things like fully fund our schools, fully fund our roads and expand broadband.”

Regulation Is Key

Gov. Laura Kelly’s ambitions for a September start will be entirely dependent on the cooperation of the Kansas Lottery and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission (KRGC). 

Per their website, the KRGC is actively hosting background checks for prospective providers while the Lottery works to design state contracts. 

Regulatory preparation seems to be going smoothly. Even still, a September kick-off for Kansas would be exceptionally fast by national standards. And speed doesn’t always translate to efficiency. 

Nebraska Betting Falls Short

Heading north, Nebraska legal sports betting won’t be nearly as expansive as the operations in Kansas. Residents of the Cornhusker state will be restricted to retail-only betting when sportsbooks finally make their arrival. 

Nonetheless, revenues collected from in-person betting will go to serve the community. With tax rates for operators fixed at twenty percent, lawmakers look forward to putting the dollars generated to good use. 

Seventy percent of all sports wagering collections will be used to fund property tax relief in the state. Twenty-five percent of these funds land directly in the hands of local governments.

The remaining five percent will be divided evenly between the state’s general fund and problem gambling programs.

A Year of Crickets

It is surprising to most that Nebraska hasn’t yet hosted its official sportsbook launch. The state has spent the past year working on regulatory agreements and operator guidelines. 

Given the small scale at which the state plans to launch its legal sports betting framework, such lengthy delays have become unreasonable. 

We hope Nebraskans won’t have to wait much longer before placing in-state wagers. In the meantime, bettors have a wide variety of reputable offshore sportsbooks to choose from. 

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Sources: Kansas Reflector, Lincoln Journal Star

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