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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Lawmakers have several options on gambling

June 20, 2005

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The Legislature's options for expanding gambling during a special session set to begin Wednesday:

Slots at the tracks: The state's dog- and horse-racing tracks could be allowed to add slot machines, video lottery machines or other electronic gambling devices. Operating year-round are Wichita Greyhound Park and The Woodlands, with separate dog and horse tracks, in Kansas City, Kan. Two others have short seasons, Anthony Downs in Harper County, and Eureka Downs, in Greenwood County. Also, most slots proposals have included the now-closed Camptown Greyhound Park north of Pittsburg.

Privately operated casinos: Some legislators have backed proposals to permit casinos, owned by the state but operated under contracts with private companies. The list of potential sites includes the Dodge City, Junction City, Kansas City, Pittsburg and Wichita areas.

Tribal compact: Gov. Kathleen Sebelius negotiated a compact with the Kickapoo and Sac and Fox tribes to open a large casino near Kansas Speedway in Wyandotte County. The state would receive part of the profits in exchange for limiting new gambling elsewhere.

Another Indian proposal: The Iowa tribe advocates allowing it and other tribes to operate state-owned casinos in the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Wichita areas.

Meeting halls: Veterans' groups and fraternal organizations have urged legislators to allow them to put slot machines in their halls, or about 240 sites around the state. A proposal in 2004 would have permitted five machines at each.

A lot of slots: When legislators debate allowing slot machines in halls operated by veterans' groups and fraternal organizations, it inevitably has raised questions about whether convenience stores, bars, taverns, bowling alleys and other businesses should be permitted to have them as well.

Doing nothing: Under new, more optimistic revenue projections released this week, legislators could provide additional money to public schools without raising new funds through expanded gambling, at least through June 2006.

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