The rapid onset of sports betting legalization in the United States has been, for the most part, a massive success. Since PASPA’s overturn in 2018, 35 states have authorized such gambling expansions.
Kansas Joins The Club
The most recent addition to this list is Kansas, whose Governor provided her signature of approval for SB84 on Thursday. This historic legislation authorizes the operation of both in-person and mobile legal betting options.
Kansas’ latest gambling measures aim to put the state on par with others that have embraced the fruits of domestic sports betting.
As well as legalizing brick-and-mortar betting services at Kansas’ four in-state casinos, lawmakers included licensing provisions that would allow eligible operators to partner with up to 50 digital retailers. Regulatory oversight will be provided by the Kansas Lottery.
Moreover, state sports betting revenues will help fund long-term community growth with 80% of tax proceeds going towards attracting a new professional sports team. Such a development is expected to reinvigorate the tourism and entertainment industries in Kansas.
Qualms At The Kansas Star
The people of the Sunflower State seem to be on board with the recent legislation, most patiently anticipating the entrance of state-licensed sports betting. But one party seems to be dissatisfied with the outcome of this expansion, and it’s not for the reason you may think.
Just hours after Gov. Laura Kelly signed SB84 into law, representatives for the Kansas Star Casino filed a lawsuit with the state’s Supreme Court. The casino is owned and operated by a Las Vegas company called Boyd Gaming.
The point of conflict lies in a short section of the sports betting bill meant to help rehabilitate a Wichita dog racing track that closed in 2007.
Boyd’s Casino didn’t make its arrival until 2011. And in doing so, the company signed a protective contract with the Kansas Lottery.
The document, whose terms extend until December 2026, dictates that the Lottery will block competition from other prospective gambling establishments in the area. Boyd argues that the new law violates the terms of this agreement.
Will The Claims Catch On?
The measure detailed in SB84 would allow for the operation of up to 1,000 horse racing machines at the historic dog racing track. However, Boyd Gaming alleges that the machines are “indistinguishable” from slots found at the casino.
Boyd Gaming is suing the state for $25 million in damages as a result of the measure. The company said this in a statement sent to KSN News:
“Boyd has lived up to its obligations, successfully operated the Kansas Star and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Kansas Star based on the State’s contractual promise,”
Although Boyd Gaming has shown support for Kansas legal sports betting, it seems that the company will not rest until this issue is resolved.
Fortunately for bettors, this lawsuit won’t stop regulatory efforts to promote a speedy start.
At least, not yet.
But while gaming officials work on licensing procedures and rule-making, interested residents can still bet on sports using legal offshore sports betting sites.