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Minutes for HB2032 - Committee on Federal and State Affairs

Short Title

Requiring that sports gaming be operated and managed solely by racetrack gaming facilities.

Minutes Content for Wed, Jan 30, 2019

Chairperson Barker opened the informational hearing on HB2032.  Jason Long, Revisor, provided an overview of the bill (Attachment 1).

Chairperson Barker recognized Representative Stan Frownfelter as a proponent on HB2032 (Attachment 2).  He stated this bill is simply intended to allow racetracks to add to their revenues and reopen their doors.  Right now they don't have enough revenue to operate.  New Jersey has some good rules and regulations that could be used in Kansas.  In response to a question from Chairperson Barker, Representative Frownfelter stated that currently the racetracks pay a 40 percent tax on slot machines, and the casinos pay a 22 percent tax, an 18 point difference.  Questions were also asked by Representatives Kessinger and Humphries.

There were no further proponents.  Chairperson Barker stated it took Representative Frownfelter seven minutes to make his presentation so he will give each opponent three minutes.

Chairperson Barker recognized Whitney Damron, representing Hollywood Casino, as an opponent to HB2032 (Attachment 3).  They are opposed to this bill.  There's a long history of broken promises from the track owners to the state of Kansas and to the horse and dog breed organizations.  They should not be given another opportunity to fail the state of Kansas. 

Chairperson Barker called upon Terry Humphrey who testified in opposition to HB2032 (Attachment 4).  She stated the cover page of her testimony contains a long list of animal shelters and rescue organizations in Kansas who are opposed to HB2032 that she would appreciate the Committee taking note of.  She represents a coalition of animal welfare organizations in Kansas who are opposed to greyhound racing.  They do not have a position on sports gambling, but they do oppose coupling sports gambling to greyhound racetracks. 

Kevin Fowler then provided testimony on behalf of the Kansas Star Casino and the Kansas Crossing Casino in opposition to HB2032 (Attachment 5).  If Kansas is interested in authorizing sports wagering, this bill is one of the surest ways to guarantee that that will not happen.  The pari-mutuel racetracks in Kansas have been closed for more than a decade.  Nationally, pari-mutuel racing has been in decline for two decades.  The enactment of HB2032, which would limit sports wagering to racetrack gaming facilities would, in effect, prohibit Kansans from access to sports wagering in Kansas. The best way to make sports wagering available is under the KELA framework, which would authorize sports wagering through the four state-owned and operated casinos as well as any racetrack gaming facilities that might open in the future. 

Chairperson Barker stated that there is written opponent testimony from Clark Stewart, the CEO of Boot Hill Casino and Resort (Attachment 6).  He opened the floor for questions of the opponents from the Committee members.  Questions were asked by Representative Smith to Mr. Fowler and Representative Ruiz to Ms. Humphrey.

Chairperson Barker recognized Philip Bradley who provided neutral testimony on HB2032 (Attachment 7). He believes the citizens of Kansas should be able to participate in sports gaming activities in  hospitality establishments, such as bars, breweries, restaurants, clubs and hotels, and would like to see the bill amended to allow sports betting in such settings.

Seeing no other persons who wished to testify, Chairperson Barker closed the informational hearing on HB2032.