US Gambling Legislation Updates: Kansas, Georgia, and Nebraska

  • Kansas lawmakers have voted down a bill for mobile and retail sports wagering
  • Political jockeying in Georgia has impeded the progress of sports betting legislation
  • Nebraska city officials are pushing for a mobile keno option for bars and keno parlors
Man looking over documents with binder labeled "Legislation" on the desk
Nebraska city officials have urged legislators to include mobile keno in a potential gambling expansion, while efforts to legalize sports betting in Kansas and Georgia have met resistance. [Image:]

Busy legislators in three states

This year, lawmakers in Kansas, Georgia, and Nebraska have all considered legislation to expand their respective gambling markets. While the latter looks set for its casino expansion, legal sports betting bills in Kansas and Georgia have met resistance.

The Kansas bill died on the House floor with a vote of 40 for and 77 against.

Kansas lawmakers voted against a bill to legalize sports betting on Monday. The legislation would have permitted online and in-person sports wagering at lottery retailers and casinos. The Kansas bill died on the House floor with a vote of 40 for and 77 against.

Meanwhile, plans to introduce legal sports wagering have suffered due to political jockeying in Georgia. The state’s Democrats have withheld votes for a new sports betting bill in protest of controversial elections legislation.

Meanwhile, things look far more hopeful in Nebraska, with two combined casino expansion bills gradually passing through the legislature. In response, city officials are pushing for the introduction of mobile keno to ensure they can compete with new casinos.

Kansas hopes still alive

Although the Kansas House voted down its sports wagering bill on Monday, the state could still see a legal betting market before year’s end. The legislation did not pass to final action, so it has a chance of returning in the House or going to committee.

funding our public schools, and social services that Kansans rely on”

The bill’s supporters believe it would be greatly beneficial for the state. Commenting on the legislation, Rep. Brandon Woodard said: “This would generate revenue for what we could use for services that are very important in Kansas, like funding our public schools, and social services that Kansans rely on.”

There is also hope for another sports betting bill which is currently progressing through the Kansas legislature. SB 84 would legalize both online and land-based sports wagering within state boundaries. Kansas lawmakers recently amended the bill after hearing testimonies from gambling’s main proponents and opponents in February.

Georgia gets political

In Georgia, it looks like voters could have their say on the introduction of gambling in November 2022. A constitutional amendment has progressed through various committees and the Senate, with lawmakers evidently agreeing on the necessity of voter approval.

Legislators are now debating what that legal wagering might look like. With the end of the legislative session now here, however, sports betting legislation has met resistance because of a controversial elections bill.

On March 25, Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law legislation that CNN described as “one of the nation’s most restrictive voting bills.” It necessitates voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, criminalizes providing water for voters waiting in line, and imposes limits on the use of ballot drop boxes. These and other restrictions primarily target voters of color.

This controversial bill resulted in House Democrats pulling their support for Republican-sponsored sports betting legislation in late February. Now that opposition is continuing to create problems for the progress of sports wagering.

As reported by Sports Handle, a source on Tuesday said efforts to legalize sports betting in the state are now dead in the water. The state’s legislative session ends on Wednesday.

Nebraska cities prepare for competition

The progression of fresh Nebraska gambling legislation this year means the state could see casino gambling at racetracks before the year is out. Earlier this month, the gambling expansion bill received its first round approval in the state legislature with a vote of 37-5.

In light of that expansion, Nebraska’s cities have now raised concerns regarding a potential loss of keno revenue because of more gambling options. On Monday, city officials urged lawmakers to modify the gambling legislation to introduce a mobile keno option for bars and keno parlors.

 $7.5m in local revenue raised through keno over the past decade

Representatives for a number of Nebraskan cities voiced their arguments this week. Bellevue City Finance Director Richard Severson pointed to the $7.5m in local revenue raised through keno over the past decade. “Needless to say, that $7.5m was very helpful without us raising property taxes or raising the revenue some other way,” he commented.

Meanwhile, in opposition, some legislators argued that the availability of a mobile app might increase the risk of problem gambling. Others expressed their belief that the new casinos would not hurt keno business.

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