Archive for Sunday, January 7, 2007

Survey: Kansans back more gambling

January 7, 2007


Reader poll
Should Kansas allow more destination casinos?

or See the results without voting


A "strong majority" of registered Kansas voters - some 56 percent - want to see casino gambling expanded in the state.

That's according to a survey released this week by an Oklahoma-based political polling company for a group trying to promote a destination casino in southeast Kansas.

"It is clear from our reading of the survey data that Kansans are more than ready for their state to compete with casinos in neighboring states and expand their state's entry into gaming," said Pat McFerron, director of survey research for Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates Inc.

The firm conducted the survey in mid-November for Kansans for Economic Growth, which is promoting a resort-style casino at Galena near the Oklahoma and Missouri borders.

Allowing such a casino would mean a change in Kansas law, which restricts gambling to playing the Kansas Lottery, pari-mutuel betting at horse and dog tracks or playing charitable bingo.

Kansans can gamble at casinos in four American Indian reservations, but the state gets no tax revenue from them.

The Legislature considered a bill last year that would have allowed state-run, resort-type casinos in Kansas City, Kan., and southeast Kansas and also 5,000 slot machines at pari-mutuel race tracks in Frontenac, Kansas City, Wichita and Dodge City.

That bill, which failed in the Senate, would have raised about $150 million a year for the state, according to its supporters.

The polling firm's survey of 500 registered voters in Kansas showed that when voters were initially asked if they wanted to allow state-operated casino gambling, 46 percent supported it, 39 percent opposed it and 15 percent were undecided, McFerron said.

However, when respondents were told that Kansas is losing millions of dollars to casinos in Missouri and Oklahoma, expanded gambling in Kansas received more support, he said.

"Once you tell them money is going out of state, it changed 56 to 31 (in support)," McFerron said.

The margin of error in the report was plus or minus 4.3 percent.

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, said he hopes to revive last year's gambling bill.

Hensley said he wants the revenue it would raise to be earmarked for the $727 million in deferred maintenance projects needed at the state's universities, community colleges and vocational schools.

Hensley said the bill may have more support in the Legislature this year.

Following the fall elections, there might be as many as 10 more votes for it in the House as legislators who opposed expanded gambling either retired or were defeated, he said.

"I've always thought we were fairly close (in the Senate)," Hensley said. Last year, a bill failed in the Senate on a vote of 16 to 20, with four members passing.

Sen. Chris Steineger, D-Kansas City, said he will be part of a coalition seeking expanded gambling. Steineger said demand for gambling in Kansas would support major resort-style casinos in Wyandotte County, Wichita and Southeast Kansas.

State Sen. Roger Pine discusses his gambling concerns


Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas' own American Indian casinos are taking about $500 million of potential tax revenue from Kansans, Steineger said.

"It would easily pay for all the needs of the Board of Regents for building maintenance in two or three years," he said.

Two state senators from Lawrence say they'll have to see the right proposal before they would vote to expand gambling because of the social problem gambling brings.

"I have a hard time thinking gambling is a positive form of economic development," said Sen. Roger Pine, R-Lawrence. "I don't know that the funds that you receive offset the problems you inherit with that."

Pine said if he were to vote for a gambling bill, it would have to be severely limited, such as allowing a destination casino near the state's border, where people are crossing over into another state and gambling.

Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, said she would have to look closely at any new proposals.

Past proposals have included too many slot machines at the state's pari-mutuel race tracks - more than exist now at the riverboat casinos in Kansas City, Mo., Francisco said.


Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

Oops. I meant the casino revenue is paying for MO schools - not the lottery revenue. Sorry for the confusion.

Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

Point taken plumberscrack, but right now that revenue is paying for Missouri schools, hospitals, and roads - ok, probably not Missouri "roads".

Even if KS uses that money for "economic development", it's better than sending it across the border.

WilburM 11 years, 5 months ago

Please, have a reporter with more savvy work on a story like this. Toplikar should know better than to be quite the shill that the story makes him appear to be. Aside from the sponsorship of the poll, the lede reports the results of the "pushing" of the sample with one-sided information. What if the information had said that thousands of persons would need to be treated for gambling addictions, costing millions of dollars? How would that have affected results? This is news, but it's also spin, and the LJW, which seeks to be the best source on state news, needs to offer far more sophisticated analyses of what the sponsoring group desires.

Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

Do you know that millions in state revenue are NOT going to out-of-state casinos?? Have you been to a Reservation casino? They're not empty. The boats in Missouri have a lot of KS license plates in the parking lot as well.

Gambling may not be a virtue, but it exists. Ignoring the potential revenue is cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The needs of this state are many and our legislators are allergic to tax increases. Where else do you propose that we get the money?

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

Pure propaganda disguised as "news", but this group doesn't want to fool you or me. All they are doing is giving the Kathy and the legislature political cover for what they want to do anyway. They are looking forward their share of the take from the losers more than the casino's themselves!

Be sure to catch the upcoming "award winning" LJW series on how the revenue will be used to repair our schools, fight AIDS, and solve world hunger. It will probably even be written by the same group and simply copied verbatim by the same "journalist." Any opposition will then be characterized on the LJW editorial page as a minority of Kansans who are anti-schools, pro-AIDS, religious extremist who are heartless and want the world to starve!

Pretty sad really.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 5 months ago

This will be a repeat for some of you, but I think it bears another look... I posted it on 12/10 in response to the article "Casino income may help universities"

Before anyone jumps on the "Casinos are good for schools" bandwagon, I suggest this article:

In a nutshell- it doesn't work. Do your own research into Clark County and Washoe County school district (NV) budget cuts in the last few years if you want to know more. Here's a sample:

"New buses, textbooks, the Talent Academy, sex ed, driver's ed and a popular music program for fifth-graders ended up on the block. Kids were added to high school classrooms to make ends meet. Across-the-board budget cuts complicated everything from purchasing classroom supplies to hiring janitors to clean the toilets." (Washoe County)

"Nevada classrooms are overcrowded and that there are not enough textbooks for students. Nevada ranked 49th in Morgan Quitno's "Smartest State Award" each of the last two years. Only New Mexico had a lower ranking."

"The proposed budget cuts have a lot of school employees nervous. That's because some parents have suggested cutting positions like guidance counselors, special education teacher's assistants, and other teacher's aides...Other position cuts being considered are campus monitors, maintenance staff, custodians, library help and school police." (Clark County)

"They're selling candy to raise money, but it's not for a sports team or marching band. The local teens need money to buy classroom supplies their school can't afford...schools all over the valley need kids' help to bring in money the state's not giving them."

Granted- these stats are from K-12 schools, not universities, but I can't imagine it would work any better higher up the education line.

Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

Dazie- I tried to check out the link, but it's cut off in your post. Could you repost it?

I'm curious about how much the state of NV benefits from the private-run casinos. The proposals in KS are for state-operated casinos, or at least state-benefitting casinos. We could be comparing apples and oranges.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure any of it's going to make a difference anyway. Even if we found the world's largest diamond mine under the State House, our legislators wouldn't offer the schools another dime - you know, because of greedy teacher's unions and such.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 5 months ago

Let's try this again:

that's: then put: Content?oid=oid%3A19607

I'm not sure I understand your question- probably because I'm not sure I know the answer. I don't know that ANY of the casinos in Nevada are state run, but I do know they hold quite a bit of sway in the state, so at times it appears rather than state run casinos, it is casino run state... ;)

Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

My question probably didn't make sense because I don't know all I should about Nevada casinos. The article you posted helped clear things up a lot. I have to say I'm amazed. Nevada relies on casinos and tourism for HALF of their state budget! That's amazing to me. However, that's precisely why they're cutting funding to schools. They've bet the house on an unstable industry.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that Kansas should rely on casino revenue to make budget every year. In fact, I seem to remember something about the governor proposing we use that money to help bring in new tech companies. Smart move, in my opinion. That's like depositing blackjack winnings into a money market account.

Sure, state-run casinos are not virtuous. Neither is selling cigarettes, booze, or lottery tickets. But people are going to buy these things. Why should we insure that Jayhawkers spend their money in neighboring states? Why not keep that money here and use it for positive ventures?

If you don't like gambling, don't gamble. If you're worried about your neighbor, then help your neighbor with his/her problem. But don't pretend like people aren't going to gamble if we don't have casinos in Kansas. Prohibition never works.

Sigmund 11 years, 5 months ago

What is always lost in Kathy and the Legislature's cost/benefit analysis is both the COSTS are never discussed and that the BENEFITS never seems to accrue to the lofty and worthy causes that are always trotted out in support (the do it for the children rhetoric) to get popular supported.

I too have no problem if my neighbor gambles, unless of course if as a result s/he has to go on welfare, deal drugs, can't clothe or feed their family. At that point I begin to care. Open up a casino in Topeka, KC, and Wichita and keep the problems there. Then send the tax revenue to Lawrence schools and I'm OK with that. Just don't open up a casino in my neighborhood!

Got to run now to get a lottery ticket. Just how much (percentage) of that revenue actually gets to the schools as was promised?

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 5 months ago

Porter- I would hazard to guess that the revenue from MO casinos is paying for far less school stuff than you'd think.

Does anyone know of a site where this could be checked out?

Porter 11 years, 5 months ago

Even if the revenue is being used to keep their billboards shiny, it should be OUR revenue. I don't think you can easily quantify how much riverboat gambling is done by Kansans. But, you can go to the Reservation casino north of Topeka any night of the week and see how packed it is.

Aileen Dingus 11 years, 5 months ago


I suggest you read this article, run today in the Reno Gazette Journal:

(go to and look at the article titled "Count ranks Nevada No. 2 in percentage of homeless" if that link doesn't work)

In a nutshell, yes- jobs are supplied, but they don't pay enough to cover living expenses, which has the effect of driving up homelessness...

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