Kansas legalizes sports betting, then gets sued



The Manila Times



TOPEKA, Kansas: Kansas legalized sports betting Thursday (Friday in Manila), only to be sued almost immediately by the operator of a stateowned casino that could offer the new wagering over an unrelated part of the law designed to revive a long-closed greyhound track in its area. Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly signed a bill that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed with bipartisan support. State officials and others weren’t sure ahead of her action when sports fans actually would be able to start making their wagers. The new law will allow people in the state to use cellphone or computer apps to bet on sporting events and to place bets at each of four state-owned casinos or up to 50 other locations chosen by each casino. Betting in fantasy sports leagues already was legal. The lawsuit was filed by the Kansas Star Casino in Shawnee County District Court in the state capital of Topeka. The casino is about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of Wichita and operated by Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming under a contract with the Kansas Lottery that runs until December 2026. The casino argues that the state is breaching its contract, which says the lottery will not permit competition from similar facilities in the Wichita area. The dispute is over a provision allowing new gambling devices at Wichita Greyhound Park. The dog park first opened in 1989 — more than two decades before the casino — but had a financially troubled history and closed in 2007. The casino opened in 2011. The devices in dispute are known as historic horse racing machines, and the new law allows 1,000 of them at the dog park. The devices replay snippets of past horse races, with results determining what a bettor wins, and the new law calls them machines for betting on races, not slots. But they look like slot machines, and Boyd argues that the two types of devices are “indistinguishable,” so that the state isn’t allowed to let the dog park have them.