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Archive for Thursday, March 23, 1995

SLOTS PLAN WOULD AID UNIVERSITIES

March 23, 1995

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— A House subcommittee wants the state's share of revenue dedicated to helping the Board of Regents rebuild its crumbling campuses if the Legislature approves slot machines for pari-mutuel race tracks.

A subcommittee of the House Federal and State Affairs Committee voted Wednesday night to amend the bill authorizing slots at the race tracks to commit the slot machine revenue to the regents' capital improvements fund.

However, the bill remains a long way from gaining legislative approval. Given the House's opposition to expanding gambling in any form, few legislators give the bill much chance for winning approval this session.

Rep. David Adkins, R-Leawood, moved in subcommittee to amend the bill to give the regents all revenue the state derives from slot machines at race tracks -- if the bill becomes law.

He said he made that motion because he believes the regents' need is legitimate and he sees no other way to get the money.

``The significant needs of the regents struck me,'' he said. ``I don't see these capital improvement funds coming from any other source.''

The regents unveiled late last year a capital improvements needs program that identified $280 million worth of improvements and new projects it needs to upgrade facilities at Kansas' six universities, medical school, technology school and veterinary medicine school.

Of that figure, $200 million is needed just for repairs and to meet fire code and Americans for Disability Act requirements. The other $80 million, the regents said, is needed for new buildings and to remodel existing structures.

Presently, the only tracks operating in Kansas are The Woodlands at Kansas City, Kan., and Wichita Greyhound Park at Wichita. A new dog track near Pittsburg is nearing completion and is scheduled to open this spring.

Operators of The Woodlands have led the fight to allow the Kansas Lottery to place slot machines at the tracks. They contend that their track cannot survive competition from riverboat casinos in Kansas City, Mo., unless they get the slots.

  • Should slot machines at racetracks be legalized if a portion of the revenue is slated for building improvements at regents universities? Answer today's J-W Access question on page 2B.
  • Lottery in limbo. Page 1B.

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