The Sedgwick County Commission voted unanimously to pull a resolution to allow electronic slot machines at dog tracks from the county agenda today. The motion by Pete Meitzner specifically pulled the issue so the interim county counselor can present the resolution to the Governor and state legislature for approval.
During the public comment sections ahead of the motion to pull the issue from a vote, several people spoke to the county commission against gambling and dog racing. One woman noted that the resolution on the agenda made no mention of dog racing, only parimutuel licenses, which is a legal term used to describe dog racing. This is of note as voters in Sedgwick County rejected slot machines at Greyhound Park in 2007, which resulted in the facility closing.
Another woman said, “Mr. Ruffin went through the front door there and is now trying to go through the back door.”
The county owns the land beneath the old Greyhound Park near Park City, but real estate developer Phil Ruffin leases it. Ruffin is widely considered to be pushing for dog racing to return to Sedgwick County to offset the gaming activities at Kansas Star.
The vote by the County Commission to pull the issue from the agenda does not mean it could not end up on the agenda in the future. The state legislature could approve the issue as a resolution to be voted on at the state level. County Commission David Dennis in the meeting said that he felt the issue was a state issue and not one for the county level.
Gaming is a complex topic in Kansas because the state holds a monopoly on all gaming activities. Governor Kathleen Sibelius moved to open casinos in the state, but due to the specific prohibition of casinos in Kansas in the constitution, a workaround was found by making casinos government-run businesses.