The bill now moves on to the Senate, where it was killed by filibuster last session.
HB 556 and its companion, HB 581, would allow for retail and digital wagering with platforms tethered to casinos and professional sports franchises. The legislation, which has the backing of casino companies and professional sports franchises, would allow for about 40 digital platforms. Three each could be tethered to each of the 12 existing casinos and one each could be tethered to the state’s professional sports teams, including two Major League Baseball teams, two professional soccer teams, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the St. Louis Blues.
The bill passed first reading in the House Monday.
The Senate has already moved forward a mirror bill, SB 30, but the full chamber has not voted on it. HB 556 must pass through multiple committees before it could reach the Senate floor. The session ends May 12.
The question will be whether the climate in the Senate has changed since last year, when Sen. Denny Hoskins killed legal wagering by filibuster in the Senate. Hoskins sponsored SB 1 this session, which would have tied legal sports betting and video lottery terminals together, but that bill did not get out of committee.
In most states where sports betting has been legalized, it has stood on its own. Among the exceptions have been Michigan and Connecticut, where lawmakers in both states legalized digital wagering and iCasino in tandem.
Status of betting bills elsewhere
Kentucky lawmakers this month became the first in 2023 to move a legal betting bill through at least one chamber. Kentucky’s HB 551 so far has passed out of the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee and is currently in the Rules Committee.
No other state legislative body has approved sports betting this year.
In Georgia last week, a legal wagering bill failed on the Senate floor, and a similar bill on the House floor did not get to a vote. State legislatures in Minnesota, North Carolina, and Texas are all considering legal betting bills, but none had gotten out of committee as of Wednesday.