Topeka Sen. Wint Winter Jr., R-Lawrence, said Wednesday that casino-style gambling shouldn't be in the cards for Kansas.
But Gov. Joan Finney insists she'll trump any legislative moves to prevent the operation of casinos on Indian reservations in the state.
Winter said he supports a bill proposed by Sen. Dick Bond, R-Overland Park, to make the types of games typically offered in casinos illegal.
"I'm against casino (and) riverboat gambling no matter who does it," said Winter, who years ago voted against pari-mutuel wagering in Kansas.
Since August, the Potawatomi and Kickapoo tribes of northeast Kansas have been negotiating with Finney to open casinos.
Atty. Gen. Bob Stephan said federal law and the state constitutional amendment allowing creation of the Kansas Lottery make it legal for Indian tribes to proceed.
However, Stephan said the Legislature can impose a statewide ban on specific games, such as craps, and still maintain the state-run lottery.
"The people didn't vote for casinos when they voted for the lottery amendment," Winter said. "They didn't vote to bring Las Vegas to Kansas City, Kansas."
WINTER SAID he objects to casino gambling in Kansas for other reasons as well.
"On the basis of law enforcement, there's no question that it's a breeding ground for organized crime and other criminal activities," said Winter, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Winter said gambling also represents a regressive tax for those who participate and is an addictive behavior.
"As a funding source, it's poor in terms of predictability," he said. "It would be a disaster for instance to have the education budget in whole or in part depending on how many people pulled the slot machine lever."
Although Winter said he's played slot machines in Las Vegas, he objects to casino gambling on moral grounds.
"I don't think that's the kind of activity we ought to be involved in in Kansas," he said.
"IF KANSAS is going to prosper in the future, it's not going to be because we try to out-Las Vegas Las Vegas."
Finney, a Democrat, also has endorsed riverboat gambling and video lottery games as a way to boost state tax collections.
Today, she promised to veto any bill that would prohibit casino gambling in the state or prevent the expansion of the Kansas Lottery.
Finney also questioned whether the Legislature can take any action to prevent the three northeast Kansas Indian tribes from building casinos on their reservations.
Asked whether she would veto Bond's proposal and others like it, Finney told reporters, ``Yes.''
KANSAS LAWMAKERS, she said, cannot override the constitution or federal law with a state law.
``That's in the constitution,'' Finney said. ``I don't think that a statute is going to override federal law, or certainly the constitution of the state of Kansas.''
Bond also said he would introduce a constitutional amendment to allow Kansans to vote on casino gambling. Under the amendment, half of the money raised by the state would be earmarked for education.
The Associated Press also contributed to this story.