Racetrack suspected of illegal betting

February 24, 2007


— An investigation is being conducted into allegations of illegal betting at The Woodlands racetrack, authorities said Friday.

James Gartland, a spokesman for The Woodlands, a horse and dog track in Kansas City, Kan., said the allegations are without merit.

"Frankly, it's just a bunch of bull," Gartland said.

But some state lawmakers said the allegations are troubling, especially because there is expected to be a push during the legislative session to expand gambling in Kansas to include slot machines at pari-mutuel racetracks.

"This is quite serious," said Sen. Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe.

Stephen Martino, executive director of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, said there is an administrative complaint "regarding allegations of a conspiracy to engage in illegal gambling."

Martino declined to comment further on the nature of the allegations, but Gartland said the investigation is related to a dispute that involves himself.

Earlier this year, the Racing and Gaming Commission refused to approve Gartland's periodic background check, which essentially removed Gartland as general manager of the track. He continues to work there, he said, in "nonracing operations."

Last year, Gartland paid a $300 fine after pleading no contest to having a gambler place wagers equaling $300 to $400 to help cover shortfalls in a Tri-Superfecta wagering pool. But the track would cover the wagers from funds designated for "customer relations," the state complaint stated.

In its pleadings, the state alleged that the gambler who received betting tickets through the "free wagers" actually won once, which reduced the winnings of other bettors.

But Gartland said he was simply trying to get the Tri-Superfecta up to the required $5,000 pool.

He denied anyone made or lost money on the deal.

"Nobody made any money; nobody got cheated," he said.

Brownlee said Gartland should be out of a job.

She said the alleged problems at The Woodlands raise concerns about whether the Racing and Gaming Commission could regulate expanded gambling.

"We really need to watch this," she said.

Gartland is fighting the Racing and Gaming Commission.

He has filed a lawsuit seeking a review of the commission's action that removed his ability to hold the general manager position.

A hearing on that issue is scheduled in a Wyandotte County court next month.

But, he said, his issues with the Racing and Gaming Commission should have no effect on any debate on whether to expand gambling in Kansas.

The Woodlands and Wichita Greyhound Park have long lobbied the Legislature for slot machines, saying that their tracks are barely surviving economically because of competition from American Indian casinos and casinos in Missouri and Oklahoma.


mae 11 years, 3 months ago

worked at the woodlands as a dog leadout for years and i don't believe they are abused. they are fed the best food and get run everyday. your dog sits at home waiting for attention.

i'd rather live the good life for a short time than spend half my life waiting.

/don't know anything about the horsetrack

Jamesaust 11 years, 3 months ago

mae - which dogs aren't abused?

You get a litter of puppies but only one decent racer - what's to be done with the others? Shot? Abandoned?

What happens to the dog when it can't run as fast anymore? Shot? Abandoned? Starved?

Dogs aren't like horses as they breed in litters - litters created by man with a foreseeable intention to destroy them for no more purpose than a very boring entertainment. You can't just turn the loose in a field somewhere.

Watching the dogs at the Woodlands is a pathetic, tawdry modern variation on the immoral entertainment of the ancient Roman Colosseum. Those who attend should be fed to the lions - literally.

mae 11 years, 3 months ago

there are letters corresponding to the level of a dogs capability. older or slower dogs are run with the young pups on a lower level to teach them their particular way of life. people still bet as the odds are about the same as a fast race. the woodlands has a very good adoption program, but when a dog is too bad then it is put down. this is the decision of the veterinarian on duty and the owner. i've had to carry a few broken necks off the track and it isn't fun. i finally convinced myself of the way i'd like to go, but that's nsfw. ;)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.