Senate bill could reopen chance for slots at Wichita Greyhound Park

TOPEKA – Sedgwick County voters would get another chance to decide on allowing slots at the Wichita Greyhound Park under a bill before the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee today.

The bill, Senate Bill 401, would ask Sedgwick County voters if they wanted to have slot machines at the racetrack. The question would appear on the ballot only after a petition with signatures from 5,000 county voters is submitted.

“We believe it will give folks the chance to make a clear and convincing decision,” Doug Lawrence, executive director of the Kansas Greyhound Association, told the committee.

It was clear that voters in Sedgwick County did not want a destination casino, nor slot machines in restaurants, bars and gas stations, he said. But there was confusion in the vote over the racetrack, which failed by about 200 votes in 2007.

The proposal would lay out the question very clearly, he said.

A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

Both measures would also permit slots at two racetracks with short summer seasons, Anthony Downs in Harper County and Eureka Downs in Greenwood County. Neither could have slots under the 2007 law.

Additionally, the bill would lower the mandatory investment required for the Southeast Gaming Zone in Cherokee County to $100 million from $225 million. The fee to the state would be reduced to $11 millionĀ  from $25 million. The zone has struggled to find a developer.

For more, read Thursday’s Wichita Eagle.