Sports gambling in Kansas is now off to a good start. After the Sunflower State spent years debating whether this should become a reality, Gov. Laura Kelly put her $15 wager on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl at the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway last Thursday. But with the mass legalization of sports betting under Senate Bill 84, and Kelly’s rubber stamp, come other issues that need addressing.
First Bets Are Off, What’s Next
One of those is the state of problem gambling and how likely it is for Kansas residents to begin struggling with addictive behavior. Presently, only 2% of the money generated through sports betting taxation, must be transferred to the Problem Gambling and Addictions Grant Fund. This is not to say that 2% of all money raised through sports betting tax will be transferred this way.
Rather, money collected through tax dollars must be first spread between the Attracting Professional Sports to Kansas Fund and the White Collar Crime Fund. It’s 2% of the remaining funds that will be then passed on to tackle problem gambling. Some, though, are skeptical about the consequences of problem gambling.
One such is Patrick Stang, a psychiatrist with the Center for Counseling in Great Bend, who argues that people are, as of right now, being told constantly how great sports betting is going to be – and is. They are being shown sports betting on TV every five minutes and this invites some risks.
Stang told Hay Post, a local media outlet, that in his talks with people suffering from problem gambling, the issue is usually buried under depression and anxiety and people only end up opening up about their gambling problem after they get to know their psychiatrist. This, though, may waste valuable time.
Gauging Risk and Acting on It
Sports gambling, however, is among the less risky activities when it comes to gambling. While sports bettors are invited to place wagers, many are “squares,” that is sports bettors who place casual bets, just like Kelly wagered on the Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl, even though the Buffalo Bills would have made a much better choice.
This may be true, but the Chiefs are one of Kansas’ own and that is what matters. Other states who have been regulating their sports gambling have also spoken about the dangers of problem gambling. Experts from Ohio recently argued that there is a correlation between suicide and problem gambling. The good news is that lawmakers are aware, and more is being done to address these potential pitfalls and more is being done to address problem gambling on a state level.