Bill for Casinos, Slots Passes House


TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas House approves casinos and slot machines at dog and horse tracks.

The vote Monday morning gives supporters of expanded gambling hope that they could end 15 years of legislative failures.

The 64-to-58 vote sent the gambling bill to the Senate. Backers of the measure contend the state eventually could realize $200 million dollars a year from the hotel-and-casino complexes and tracks with slots.

Senate President Steve Morris, though, says he wants some assurance of enough votes to pass the bill before bringing it up. Without that, he says, it's possible the Senate won't consider it.

Under the bill, the Kansas Lottery would own the casinos and slots operations but would hire private companies to manage them. Opponents spoke out, Republican Don Dahl of Hillsboro said the vote puts Kansas ``on the dark side,'' and ``an ominous cloud has now descended on Kansas.''

The bill would permit large tourist-attracting casinos in Ford County, Wyandotte County, either Sedgwick or Sumner county, and either Crawford or Cherokee counties.

It also would allow 2,200 slot machines initially, at Wichita Greyhound Park; the Woodlands in Kansas City, Kansas, and the now-closed Camptown Greyhound Park, in Frontenac.

Highlights of the Gambling Bill include:

For Casinos:

  • Areas eligible for tourist-attracting casinos: Wyandotte, Sedgwick or Sumner counties, Crawford or Cherokee counties, and Ford County.

  • County vote of approval required.

  • $225 million minimum investment for casino developers.

  • $25 million one-time privilege fee paid to the state.

  • 22% of casino revenue goes to state.

  • 3% goes to local units of government.

  • 2% goes to problem gambling and addiction fund.
  • For Race Tracks:

  • 2,200 slot machines distributed among Woodlands in Kansas City, Wichita Greyhound Park and Camptown in Frontenac.

  • County vote of approval required.

  • Tracks pay a privilege fee of $2,500 per slot machine.

  • 600 more slots can be distributed to the tracks after contracts for casinos have been signed.

  • 40% of slot revenue to state.

  • 25% goes to facility owner as a management fee.

  • 15% covers expenses.

  • 7% each goes to greyhound racing and horse racing.

  • 3% goes to local units of government.

  • 2% goes to problem gambling and addiction fund.

  • 1% goes to Horse Benefit Fair Fund.
  • Other:

  • Prohibits governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and legislators from working with a gambling company until they've been out of office for five years.

  • State's use of its share limited to debt reduction, infrastructure improvements and property tax relief.

  • Within four months of the bill's enactment, the Kansas Lottery Commission must determine the maximum number of slots at individual tracks.

  • There's a 25-year moratorium on expansion of casinos or more than 2,800 slots.

  • Local governments can't use eminent domain, STAR bonds, tax-increment financing or tax abatements to help developers.

  • No tax by a government unit can be used for the minimum investment requirement for casino.

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