Kansas Race Wagering
In 1986, Kansas voters amended Article 15 of the Kansas Constitution, which allowed pari-mutuel wagering on horse and dog racing in the state, and subsequently, in 1987, the state legislature passed the Kansas Parimutuel Racing Act (KPRA). The KPRA created the Kansas Racing Commission to license and regulate pari-mutuel wagering and the racing industry and provided for simulcasting of both interstate and intrastate horse and greyhound races within the state. Pari-mutuel wagering on simulcast races was authorized in 1992.
Although slots at racetracks in Kansas were finally authorized in 2008, neither the Woodlands nor the Wichita Greyhound Park has been able to negotiate a contract with the Kansas Lottery to operate slot machines at its facilities. The tracks claim that the 40% tax they'd have to pay on net gaming revenue would make slots not profitable. However, a bill was approved by a state Senate committee in May 2015 that would decrease the state's share from 40% to 22% of revenue from slots.
Wichita Greyhound Park and the Woodlands closed in August 2008. This resulted in a significant decrease of race wagering revenue in Kansas, which affected a subsidy provided to Anthony Downs and Eureka Downs for live horse racing. With the depletion of this subsidy, the last pari-mutuel races were held at the two county fair locations at Anthony Downs and Eureka Downs in 2009.
Over the years there have been discussions in Kansas as to whether the tracks could reopen provided they offer sports betting on a level playing field with the casion tax rate on electronic gambling machines. In 2020; however, an amendment to the 2020 Kansas sports betting bill to lower slot machine tax for racetracks to 22% failed by a narrow margin on the Senate floor.
In January 2018, a proposed law "relating to sports gambling" was introduced. The bill would expand the purview of the Kansas lottery to sports betting involving "one or more competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate, or are intended to participate, or on one or more performances of such athletes in such games." Kansas held sports betting hearings in the months before the May 2018 U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision and abolished PASPA, but took no action afterward.
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