Brownback Wants No New Debate Over Racetrack Slots

By: Lily Wu - Email
By: Lily Wu - Email

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Friday, December 16, 2011

"I don't think or consider it a setback," said Tracy Wildey, member of WichitaWins and vice-president of the Kansas Greyhound Association.

Wildey along with other members of WichitaWins do not feel that the governor's reaction will put a wrench in their efforts to bring back the tracks.

"I think in some ways, it was an energy boost to the group to say, 'Hey, obviously if it's being spoken about and being talked about, then we must have at least some legs to stand on.' So, therefore, we're going to continue to push forward," said Wildey.

Gov. Sam Brownback told reporters that he does not think lawmakers will have time to discuss the issue of bringing slot machines to a dog-racing track during the next legislative session.

"I agree with the governor. I think this is going to be one of the biggest and most intense legislative sessions that we've probably had in Kansas in decades. We're facing several very large issues this session that are going to take up quite a bit of our time," said Rep. Joseph Scapa, R-Wichita.

Legislators plan to discuss reforms in tax, school, and Medicaid, but members of WichitaWins feel there is still a chance for the issue to come up.

"I think it's very hard to determine in December what the route of a legislative session will take. I mean they tend to be very fluid and dynamic, so you never know which way they're going to go," said Wildey.

In 2007, Sedgwick County voters rejected a similar measure to allow gaming at the park by 244 votes, and owner, Phil Ruffin, closed the doors to the Wichita Greyhound Park.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback doesn't think legislators will have time next year to discuss bringing slot machines to a dog-racing track in Wichita.

Brownback said Thursday that a debate about gambling will, in his
words, "suck the oxygen" out of next year's legislative session. He says it would distract from a crowded agenda that will include taxes and school funding.

A new group revealed plans last week to push to get a slots question on the ballot in Sedgwick County. A referendum on slots was narrowly defeated in 2007, prompting the closing of Wichita Greyhound Park.

Even with such a vote, legislators still would have to amend state law to allow slots at the Wichita track because the first referendum failed.

-Associated Press

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