TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas House passed Senate Bill 84, also known as the sports wagering bill in a 73-49 vote. This legislation would not only legalize professional and collegiate sports gambling, but the money generated from sports wagering would also go into a fund to try and attract a professional sports team to Kansas.
“We’re going to be able to hopefully get this going to the governor’s desk, which I believe she’ll sign and we’ll have this into law, and Kansans will be able to bet right here in Kansas on sporting events,” Sen. Rob Olson (R-Olathe) said.
The Kansas Senate is expected to hear the bill Thursday night around 7:30 p.m. This vote is also happening on the night of the NFL Draft, where teams like the Kansas City Chiefs gamble to make the future of the team better. At the same time, Kansas is also gambling in more ways than one with this legislation.
“I think it’s fine to take the risk that they’re taking,” said former state legislator and Chiefs fan Steve Crum.
Crum and his friends bought an old school bus now known as the “Arrowhead Express.” Steve acknowledges buying the bus was also a bit of a gamble, considering gas prices rose dramatically since he and his friends bought it in 2019.
“We would roll the dice on it again, I’m sure,” said Crum.
SB 84 has a provision that appropriates 80% of the gambling revenue to the “Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund” to potentially persuade a team like the Chiefs into Kansas.
“The notion of the Chiefs stadium plan is, again, pardon my disdain, but it’s ridiculous,” said Rep. Paul Waggoner (R-Hutchinson).
Some call the bill ridiculous. Others see potential, or perhaps even a sure thing.
“It’s a lot of money, around $50 million a year we can give to the state general fund,” said Rep. Francis Awerkamp (R-St. Marys).
Others may see this bill as too much of a risky bet.
“You clearly don’t know any addicts. You clearly have never met an addict if you think folks have a choice,” said Rep. Pat Proctor (R-Leavenworth), as he feels this bill will only make gambling addictions worse.
“If you can get a professional sports team here, it can be an economic boom,” said Crum. “I don’t see the Chiefs really considering the move, but definitely using that to leverage their position to maybe try and get a new stadium.”