With governor’s signing, gaming expansion finally a reality in Kansas
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed legislation in early April that will allow for four casino resorts and slot machines at parimutuel racetracks, ending more than 15 years of failed efforts to expand gambling in the state.
Sebelius has supported expanded gambling in Kansas in an effort to stop the flow of state revenue to tribal government casinos and Missouri riverboat casinos.
“Kansans have repeatedly asked for responsible gaming opportunities,” she said in a prepared release, “and now their voices will be heard.”
A provision in the legislation requires that voters must approve of gambling in countywide referendums.
The bill would allow “destination casinos” in Cherokee or Crawford counties near Pittsburg in southeast Kansas; Ford County, home of Dodge City; Sedgwick or Sumner counties near Wichita; and Wyandotte County. The bill calls for the proposed casinos to have a minimum capital investment of $225 million, except for the Ford County casino, which has a $50 million minimum.
The bill also calls for as many as 2,800 slot machines to be allowed at three horse and greyhound tracks in Kansas: Woodlands Racetrack in Wyandotte County and one each in Crawford and Sedgwick counties.
Local governments will receive 3 percent of the revenue from destination casinos, and the state is expected to receive about $200 million a year from the new gambling operations once the bill is fully implemented.