Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2004

Casino protection key issue in deal

State’s revenue share in K.C.K. linked to limiting gaming elsewhere

October 21, 2004


— A legislative committee will scrutinize market protections granted to a proposed casino in Wyandotte County as part of a compact between Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and two Indian tribes, the panel's chairman said Wednesday.

Rep. Bill Mason and the Joint Committee on Tribal-State Relations began a review of the compact, which guarantees the state revenues from a $210 million casino-and-hotel complex proposed by the Kickapoo and Sac and Fox tribes.

While Sebelius' office estimates the state could receive $50 million or more annually in revenues, the amount is tied to how aggressively Kansas limits gambling elsewhere. If the state permits too much other gambling, its share of revenues from the Kickapoo-Sac and Fox casino could drop to a few million dollars.

"The main issues will be in the market protection areas," Mason, R-El Dorado, said before opening Wednesday's meeting.

The state would face penalties if it permitted more than 500 nontribal slot machines or video lottery terminals within 100 miles of the new casino and more than 1,500 such machines outside 100 miles. The state also would be penalized if it did not oppose other proposed Indian casinos within 100 miles.

Legislators must approve the compact, and the U.S. Interior Department must declare the site, near Kansas Speedway, eligible for gambling.

The committee planned to review the compact Wednesday, then discuss proposed changes Thursday. The governor's office and tribes can incorporate proposed changes -- or reject them -- before seeking legislative approval.

The compact would then go to the Legislature's top seven leaders, who are scheduled to meet Nov. 17. They can approve the compact because lawmakers are out of session until January.

It would be the first Indian casino in Kansas to share revenue with the state. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states -- Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin -- have such agreements with tribes.

Members were not sure Wednesday whether the committee would propose changes.

"It represents a pretty good work product, I think," said Sen. Pete Brungardt, R-Salina.

Four tribes, including the Kickapoo and Sac and Fox, already operate separate casinos in northeast Kansas under compacts signed in the 1990s. The other two are the Iowa and Prairie Band Potawatomi.

Under the latest compact, the Kickapoo and Sac and Fox would keep their existing casinos open for an additional seven years, giving the state 4 percent of gross revenues.

The state would receive 14 percent of the first $100 million in gross revenues from the new casino and 24 percent of the revenues above that, with 1 percent covering regulatory costs.

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