Kansas City Star. October 18, 2022.
Editorial: Underwhelming first month of sports gambling isn’t enough to lure the Chiefs to Kansas
Gov. Laura Kelly’s office recently announced the results of the first month of legalized sports gambling in Kansas. The take was underwhelming, to say the least.
In September, the office said, gambling generated a grand total of $1.3 million in revenue for casinos and their partner betting platforms, which means $130,000 for the state. That works out to roughly $1.5 million a year — far short of the $5 million that was estimated when the Legislature approved the activity.
Some of that money is set aside to entice a professional sports franchise to come to Kansas. We think there are better ways to spend the money.
For one thing, Kansas’ revenue from sports gambling may not be enough to pay the legal bills from a Chiefs relocation, let alone build a stadium. (Nashville is contemplating a new stadium for the Tennessee Titans. Cost? $2.2 billion.)
Gambling supporters think the state’s income will increase in the months ahead. “While legal wagering is just in its infancy,” Kelly said in her statement, “these revenues will continue to grow and benefit the state over time.”
It isn’t clear that will be the case. Sports gambling was heavily promoted in September, with lots of news stories and television reports. It’s hard to imagine more sustained enthusiasm for gambling in the months ahead — particularly if Missouri figures out how to offer sports betting.
It’s more likely sports gambling will soon resemble other wagering activities, including the lottery and casinos: enjoyable for those who want to bet, but hardly a massive windfall for state governments.
Some of the state’s sports gaming revenues are dedicated to investigating white-collar crimes related to betting. After that, there are better places for Kansas to spend the money than on an expensive fishing expedition to lure a professional sports team.
On the Missouri side, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has an idea. He’s suggested using the money to subsidize international travel at Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal. He points out, accurately, that far more than half of the passengers at KCI live in Kansas.
“It would help a heckuva lot of Kansas businesses,” Lucas said. “I think this is a very responsible expenditure that would help the people of Kansas.”
Using Kansas money at KCI is a sticky business. We still lack a regional airport authority, which would give Kansans a buy-in at the facility. It’s tough to ask for Kansas money while denying Kansans a role in oversight.
But we think the mayor is on the right track, generally. The revenue from sports gaming in Kansas will likely end up as a drop in the state’s budget. That means lawmakers should consider targeting the cash to a specific need — air travel, maybe, but also mental health services, adoption services or some other worthwhile cause.
It would take an amendment to the gambling law to redirect the money. Legislators should pursue that goal in 2023.
They should drop the silly idea of using the money to lure a sports franchise to the state. There simply isn’t enough money available to get the job done.
Topeka Capital-Journal. October 21, 2022.
Editorial: Here’s what we think is important when Kansans fill out ballots this election season
The Topeka Capital-Journal won’t endorse individual candidates in this election cycle.
In recent years, it’s been rare that we endorse a candidate up or down the ballot. We have faith in our electorate to know their own minds and we trust that the system will conduct a fair election.
When the ballots are tallied, we want the winners to know we’ll be rooting for them because when they succeed, Kansas succeeds. Topeka succeeds. But if they break a promise, or act against the interests of Kansans, understand we’re obligated to call that to light.
That said, we do believe the following considerations are important when filling out an advance ballot or standing at the ballot box on Election Day.
The ideal candidates will put the needs of Kansas above the needs of their party, personal beliefs or other competing interests. Remember, elected officials work for the people of Kansas, of Topeka.
The candidate should believe in the importance of American democracy. He or she should have respect for the principles our nation was founded upon. Our country is nearing its 250th birthday. Let’s make sure it survives to see it.
We want candidates who are committed to telling the truth. This means campaigning honestly, being direct about the opponent’s positions and not twisting the facts — and not spouting nonsense or conspiracy theories. Facts are indisputable, not something we can have a difference of opinion on.
The right candidate uses common sense and respects the voters and doesn’t disrespect the opponent by shouting insults. If someone can’t be civil on the campaign trail, how can we trust them to do so in Topeka or Washington, D.C.?
The ideal candidate should be thinking about Kansans — past, present and future. What kind of world will our grandchildren inherit? What about future generations?
We want our representatives to be concerned about making sure the Sunflower State is a better place when they leave office. What kind of world will it be? Will climate change unleash even more powerful storms and wildfires while shrinking our Kansas lakes and rivers? Or can Kansas become a destination for industry in a generation?
As we often say before elections, vote your conscience. Vote for what makes Kansas a better place.
Vote with informed consent, but most importantly vote. Many people have died for you to have this privilege. Honor their sacrifice by participating in the process.
It’s the most American thing you can do.