There are more than just tornados going through the state of Kansas these days as they have been fiercely debating in the Senate on how to deal with online gaming. First they were debating over a gambling expansion bill that would bring in a new land based casino to the state into the area they call the “gambling zone” that is located in the southeast corner. The vote failed to pass on a 24-15 vote and that bill included a ban on online gaming. In attempt to make the anti-gaming legislators happy, means that they wanted to make playing online poker and casino games a misdemeanor.
They voted on the proposed legislation Senate Bill 2055 that would have banned online gaming but many senators changed their minds and voted no when the bill came up for consideration. It doesn’t end there, if the bill would have passed that means all forms of electronic slots and video games would have been banned at the horse racing tracks, thus limited different options of gaming for patrons until 2032. If the bill would have passed then any one caught playing online gaming a Class B Misdemeanor with penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The Proposed legislation was presented by Republican Kansas Senator Jacob LaTurner and would have also reduced the minimum required casino management fee from $225 million to $50 million. LaTurner represents the southeast gaming zone, which is called Senate District 13 and that would directed the Kansas Lottery Commission to prohibit the electronic games at the tracks. The attempt to lower the casino management fee was intended to attract more casino development, since that has been going to casinos in northeastern Oklahoma, which offers lots of gambling development and opportunities.
If the bill to ban online gaming were to have passed it would have put the state of Kansas back into the stone age of Internet freedom and turned a blind eye to the progress made in online gaming legalization in the US at this time. States like Nevada, Delaware and New Jersey have all passed online gaming legislation that includes both online gaming inside the states borders and intrastate gaming as recently passed by Nevada. It seems some states like Kansas, senators are looking for their own political interests and not acknowledging the changes in the legal online gaming landscape currently taking place in the US.
As more states begin the debate and look to take online gaming seriously, the state lotteries are looking for more ways to generate revenue and offer more products to their customers. States need more tax dollars and more people are playing online. Eventually, states like Kansas will have to come to the table and take it seriously in a positive and realistic manner. Online gaming is not going away. With the bill to ban online gaming not passing shows there is still hope for online gaming to make comeback in the senate and look to another bill that just might do the trick.
Since Kansas has competition in the land-based casino area they may as well look to expand in other areas. Online gaming is one way to do it, and looking to make compacts with other states that have legalized gaming would be the best way to make up for all the lost land based casino business. Either way, there is surely more to come from the state of Kansas with regards to online gaming. It’s not over yet, so stay tuned for more online gaming debates in Kansas.