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Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2007

Business leaders oppose casino

June 28, 2007

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— Sedgwick County voters will hear a lot more about gambling in the coming months as its supporters and opponents gear up for two election measures on the issue.

Several high-profile business leaders in Wichita have come out publicly against casino gambling in the county and have recruited friends to mount a campaign persuading residents to vote against the issues when they come up Aug. 7.

Supporters of the casino also plan a media advertising campaign that kicks off next week with billboards, television, radio, newspaper and direct mail.

Sedgwick County residents vote Aug. 7 on whether to allow a casino and whether to allow Wichita Greyhound Park to add slot machines.

Intrust Bank president Charlie Chandler and entrepreneur Jack DeBoer said Tuesday they opposed the casino because of what they saw as its social costs on families.

"As a banker who depends on the local economy for the health of my businesses, and as a Wichitan, I don't want to see our progress damaged," Chandler said.

DeBoer - who owns two downtown hotels and is managing partner of the WaterWalk development - said he was initially glad when the Legislature approved a casino for either Sedgwick or Sumner county. But he has since rejected several casino offers for the WaterWalk.

Others who plan to join them include former Cessna Aircraft chief executive Russ Meyer, developer and oilman Don Slawson, Metal Fab owner Ken Shannon and oilman Scott Ritchie.

Their plans come as a majority of voters in Wyandotte and Ford counties on Tuesday supported casinos in their counties.

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