Archive for Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sebelius aide criticizes gambling measure

March 16, 2005


— Gov. Kathleen Sebelius supports expanded gambling in Kansas, but a top aide is criticizing a bill to permit casinos in five areas and slot machines at dog and horse tracks.

Matt All, the governor's chief counsel, told the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday the measure has "substantial problems."

The measure has the backing of prospective casino developers, city and county economic development officials and leaders of dog and horse groups.

They said the bill could generate $150 million for the state over the next 15 months, money that could prove crucial as lawmakers try to meet an April 12 deadline set by the Kansas Supreme Court for improving education funding.

The measure would permit large casinos in Dodge City, Junction City, Kansas City, Kan., Pittsburg and Wichita, as well as slots at the tracks.

But All said the bill is flawed because it doesn't limit the number of casinos in a given area. Also, he said, the state's share of profits would come from revenues after expenses, rather than gross revenues.

Also, he said, it would have the state issue bonds to finance casino construction, which he said is inappropriate.

Leaders of veterans' groups also testified against the bill because it would not allow slots at their clubs.

The committee did not take action and has no timetable for debating the measure, said Chairman Dwayne Umbarger, R-Thayer.

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