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Local animal shelter director testifies to the Kansas’s House Committee

House Bill 2199 (HB2199) is a bill authorizing sports wagering under the Kansas expanded lottery act. To most, it’s reach would include gambling and casinos, not animal rights. However, according to Jasmine Kyle, director of Southeast Kansas Humane Society (SEKHS), the bill includes a loophole that would allow the return of greyhound racing to Kansas. Kyle, along with other representatives from Humane Societies in Kansas including the United States Humane Society testified to the Kansas’s House Committee Feb. 18, through a virtual hearing. 

“…BILL2199 is a sports wagering bill,” Kyle said. “Our organizations do not have any position on sports wagering until such legislation permits legislation on greyhound racing. This is what this bill could potentially lead up to. There is a loophole in this legislation. In order for racetrack gambling casino facilities, called racinos, to open for sports wagering they might run a minimum number of live greyhound races. That is the loophole. It means that this bill makes sports wagering at these race tracks making the facilities reliant on the live racing of greyhound racing. So, we ask the bill be amended to remove the racinos in order to stop the return of greyhound racing in Kansas.”  

According to the Bill, 2-3, “The term “sporting event” does not include: (A) Any horse or greyhound race that is subject to the provisions of the Kansas parimutuel racing act, K.S.A. 74-8801 et seq., and amendments thereto;… However, that leaves a loophole for a greyhound track to contract for sports wagering. Horse or greyhound racetracks could be potential “sports facility managers,’” which are approved lottery sports betting partners as greyhound racing is not illegal in Kansas. 

Kyle and the other representatives are asking for the bill to be amended. 

“When we looked into (HB)2199, the current definition of a sporting event in this bill it only prohibits sport betting on greyhound racing as it occurs in Kansas and is regulated by the KPRA,” Kyle said. “…again, we ask the sports wagering bill be amended that prohibits betting on all greyhound races anywhere in the state of Kansas. We’re trying to remove greyhound racing entirely from the bill.” 

Kyle said the SEKHS was told by an area representative of the United States Humane Society about the bill and upon hearing about it they submitted a plea and testimony letter to speak, which was accepted. 

“To them (the committee), it’s a sports wagering bill with gambling and casinos… so this was not on their radar and not a huge concern,” Kyle said. “But thankfully with how many agencies showed up, we made it very clear that there is this loophole, why it needs to be amended and how it can affect our state.” 

Kyle hopes to be a voice for animals “who can’t speak for themselves,” and ban the sport of greyhound racing which is banned in 41 states and is, according to Kyle, “inhumane.” According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the use of cocaine and metabolites is prevalent in greyhound racing with hundreds of racing dogs testing positive for these drugs. 

“It is extremely unprofitable, and it is extremely inhumane,” Kyle said. “It is time this sport dies and leaves these dogs alone.” 

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