A Kansas House committee meeting related to sports betting abruptly ended Tuesday morning, leading to uncertainty as legislators aim to legalize sports wagering in the state.
There had been hope among some sports betting proponents that HB 2740 would move through the House Committee on Federal and State Affairs in the morning and head to a full House vote on Tuesday afternoon. Instead, the committee adjourned in the morning without taking a vote on the bill. A disagreement over a proposed amendment related to online lottery sales prompted the holdup.
Frustrations over amendment
An amendment proposed by Rep. John Barker, the committee’s chair, would remove the portion of the bill giving the Kansas lottery the ability to sell online lottery tickets. Barker shared that House leaders had asked him to bring the amendment forward Tuesday.
Some members of the committee, including Rep. Stephanie Clayton, spoke against the proposed amendment, which ultimately failed. The expectation among committee members was that removing the sale of online lottery tickets from the bill could cost the state about $10 million in future revenue. The potential revenue loss turned some committee members against the amendment.
After the amendment failed, a motion to reconsider was brought up by Rep. Tory Marie Arnberger, the committee vice chair. There was a brief disagreement over whether Arnberger could even bring a motion to reconsider, as it was unclear among some committee members if Arnberger was on the prevailing side of the original vote, which is necessary for someone to bring a motion to reconsider.
“I have a point of order,” Clayton said. “I don’t recall you voting for that amendment.”
Barker replied that he “always believes” Arnberger and that he would allow her to make a motion to reconsider.
“OK,” Clayton said. “If that’s how we’re gonna do it, that’s how we’re gonna do it.”
Sit tight, guys, we’ll get this out this year. Communication and teamwork are key, and sometimes communications break down. We can fix this; I’m sure of it. #ksleg
— ❄️Stephanie Clayton❄️ (@SSCJoCoKs) March 29, 2022
The motion to reconsider also failed, however, and Barker ended the meeting seconds later.
“I am surprised,” Barker said. “We are adjourned.”
Hurdles remain as Kansas politicians seek to work through disagreements and potentially legalize sports wagering in the state. During the committee meeting, one amendment proposed by Rep. Francis Awerkamp sought to give the lottery complete control over sports betting in Kansas. If approved, that amendment likely would have ended the chances of sports betting being legalized this year.
“I will tell you that if this gets on, we will have no sports betting. … The casinos are not on board,” Barker said. “The retailers are not on board. I can’t think of anybody that’s on board.”
That amendment was shot down, which is a good sign for Kansans rooting for legal wagering. If nothing else, though, the proposal illustrated how disagreements persist about the best path forward for sports betting.
Clayton told Sports Handle after the meeting that she’s hopeful a committee vote on the legalization bill could still occur this week.
“Communications broke down, but I do think there’s an opportunity for us to take another bite of this apple and get it done,” Clayton said.