MARION Marion County residents have rejected a proposed destination casino.
In mail-in ballots tallied Thursday, the unofficial count was 2,577 to 2,377. Voters in Harvey and Sumner counties had previously approved a destination casino in advisory referendums.
The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska initially wanted to build the casino in suburban Wichita. But the tribe decided to look for other locations when the Sedgwick County Commission put off a referendum on the project.
Commissioners in Marion County, which has a large Mennonite population among its 13,000 residents, cited the tax revenue a casino would generate in agreeing in October to the advisory referendum.
But more than 20 residents showed up at a meeting to voice opposition.
A later meeting attracted more than 40 casino opponents. Only a former Wichita mayor, Bob Knight, who has been representing the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, spoke in favor of the project.
The elections in Marion, Sumner and Harvey counties were conducted before the start of a legislative session in which lawmakers are expected to consider bills that would permit casinos in portions of the state where voters have approved them.