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Kansas Lottery Commission Allows Slot Machines in the State

The Kansas Lottery Commission decided to allow 800 slot machines to be hosted at the racing tracks in Wichita and Kansas City, Kansas and 600 slot machines at the racing track in Frontenac.

The commission also decided to extend the deadline for the submission of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas of the choices to the lottery officials for the resort casino.

The new submission deadline is December 31, 2007. The allocation of 2,200 slot machines was also included in the regulations that the commission used to manage the operation of the slot machines at the Woodlands Dog and Horse Racing Track in Kansas City, Wichita Greyhound Park and the Camptown Greyhound Park at the Frontenac.

A law enforced this year allowing gambling expansion in the state allocates 2,800 slot machines at the 3 racing tracks. The remaining 600 slot machines will be allocated Lottery Director, Ed Van Petten, once the management contract is finished.

The racing tracks will need to pay $2,500 to Kansas for each slot machine that is installed. No racing track in Kansas can have more than 1,600 slot machines. The law also permits resort style casino facilities in Ford County, Wyandotte County, Crawford or Cherokee County and Sedgwick and Sumner County.

Kansas already has 4 Indian owned casinos in northeast Kansas. The Kansas Lottery will manage the casinos and the slot machines at the racing tracks, although the law clearly states that the state can appoint private organizations to operate the facilities.

Doug Lawrence, a lobbyist for the Ruffin Companies, said that they are satisfied with the allocation. The Ruffin Companies manage the Wichita and Frontenac Racing Tracks. The counties that will have the racing tracks have to decide whether or not they want the racing tracks. Lawrence commented that construction is already in progress at Camptown, while Sedgwick County is preparing for August 7, 2007. The Unified Government needed the additional extension because officials expect to review 12 applications, according to spokesman, Mike Taylor.

The deadline for the submission of the casino application is still the same, September 6, 2007 for Southeast Kansas and September 27, 2007 for Ford County.

Just last week, Van Petten commented that the slot machines at the racing tracks could become a reality next spring and that the lottery commission has started talking about the management contracts with the track owners. Van Petten commented that there is no deadline regarding the contracts with the horse racing tracks.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius commanded Attorney General Paul Morrison to file a lawsuit to test if the new law's constitutionality will be held. However, Attorney General Paul Morrison does not plan to file the case until the lottery commission uses the regulations for the new casino facilities, which will not happen until September 2007.

In 1994, the court commented that the term "lottery" in the constitution is wide enough to include slot machines and casino table games. But 4 of the 7 justices joined the court after that decision.

Critics of the plan commented that the state constitution requires Kansas to operate the gaming operations directly rather than hire a private business organization.


Tuesday, 07 August 2007
Darren G. Strachan