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How gambling industry lobbyists made legal sports betting a reality in Kansas

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Behind a black ribbon guiding the line, a man in jeans and a black t-shirt stands at a wood-paneled counter. Behind the counter are men in red shirts in front of TVs displaying odds on different games. Above them is a lit sign that says "Barstool Sportsbook."
Savannah Hawley
/
KCUR 89.3
Kansas became the 34th state in the country to legalize sports betting earlier this year.

To expand sports betting across the U.S., gambling industry lobbyists used questionable arguments and lavished gifts and donations on state lawmakers — notably in Kansas. Meanwhile, the taxable revenue from those sports bets has nearly disappeared.

A recent story from The New York Times examines the dramatic expansion of legalized sports betting throughout the country, and focused specifically on how gambling industry lobbyists used questionable arguments and lavished gifts and donations on state lawmakers — notably in Kansas.

In the Sunflower State, that included a dramatic cut to the state's share of sports betting revenue from the original plan of 20% down to 10%. There's also a provision in the bill for sports betting companies like FanDuel and DraftKings to deduct the free bets they often give away to first-time costumers.

As a result, the taxable revenue nearly completely disappeared, as the state brought in only $271,000 in taxes on $350 million in bets.

Lipton joined KCUR's Up To Date to discuss the landscape of sports betting lobbying in the U.S. and specifics on the bill Kansas lawmakers passed earlier this year.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
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