Lottery chief says slots at tracks could happen by next spring

TOPEKA, Kan. | Slot machines could be at three horse and dog tracks in the state next spring, although there’s an outside chance it could happen earlier in the year, the Kansas Lottery director says.

“The fastest-case scenario is that we might have some installed in early 2008, but realistically, we’re talking about April or May,” director Ed Van Petten told the Joint Committee on Rules and Regulations.

A law enacted this year allows for up to 2,800 slot machines distributed among Wichita Greyhound Park, Camptown Greyhound Park at Frontenac and the Woodlands dog and horse racing park in Kansas City. The law also allows for resort-style casinos in Ford County, Wyandotte County, either Crawford or Cherokee county, and either Sedgwick or Sumner county.

The Lottery will own the casinos and the slots at the tracks, although the law says the state can hire private companies to manage the facilities.

Van Petten said his estimate on when the slots will operating at the tracks assumes a promised lawsuit to test the law’s constitutionality will be final regarding the tracks, and the courts won’t issue any order preventing the state from going forward while the lawsuit is under way.

At Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ request, Attorney General Paul Morrison agreed to file a “friendly lawsuit” to test the law’s constitutionality with the hope of it being upheld. But he doesn’t plan to file the lawsuit until the Lottery Commission adopts rules for the new casinos.