Topeka Gamblers could be playing video slot machines at Kansas pari-mutuel tracks by next spring, while resort-type casinos are probably three years away, the state's chief gambling official said Friday.
"Assuming everything goes extremely smoothly - would be early '08," Kansas Lottery Director Ed Van Petten said about the prospect of slot machines at the tracks. "Probably a more realistic time would be March or April of '08."
But destination-type casinos won't be open until 2010 or 2011 because of expected litigation and construction timetables, he said.
A new law allows casino-resorts in Wyandotte County, south-central Kansas and southeastern Kansas, and a smaller casino operation in Ford County.
There are four American Indian tribal casinos in northeast Kansas that were established in the 1990s under compacts with the state, although the state collects no revenue from the operations.
The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, which owns the largest casino in Kansas - Harrah's Prairie Band Casino in Mayetta - has said it probably would file a lawsuit seeking to block the new law.
And Attorney General Paul Morrison has said he will challenge the law to expedite a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that supporters hope will clear the way for development of resort casinos.
He said he wants the law's operational regulations, which will be written by the Kansas Lottery, in place before he asks the court to rule on the issue's constitutionality.
Van Petten said he hopes the Lottery Commission will approve the rules and regulations for slot machines at tracks next month, and the casino rules and regulations this fall.
Pari-mutuel tracks in Kansas include The Woodlands, a horse and dog track in Kansas City, Kan., Wichita Greyhound Park, and Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac.
On Friday, the Lottery Commission unanimously approved a 2005 vote in Sumner County as satisfying a legal requirement for local approval of a casino. A local referendum on expanded gambling is scheduled for Tuesday in Wyandotte County.
In addition, an election is scheduled in August in Sedgwick County, which borders Sumner County, for approval.
The casino law will only allow one casino in that area.
Sumner County officials at the Friday commission meeting said they were confident they would eventually be chosen.
"We have large tracts of land where they could make it a true development," said Janis Hellard, director of the Sumner County Economic Development Commission.