Kansas Bill Designed to Get Tracks to Reopen

The tax rate on electronic gaming machine revenue would drop dramatically.

Legislation creating the Kansas Agriculture Opportunity Act would lower the tax rate on electronic gaming machines in an effort to get racetracks to install them, and also increase the amount of revenue that would go to purses and breed development funds.

A March 21 fiscal note on the bill lists numerous amendments to the state Expanded Lottery Act, including financial incentives for construction of a state-owned casino in southeastern Kansas. The measure is making its way through the Kansas legislature.

Racetrack gaming machines have been legal in the state since 2007, but the 25% return to racetrack managers has been an impediment. Because of that, The Woodlands, a Thoroughbred and Greyhound track in Kansas City, closed in 2008.

The fiscal note states the proposed tax changes "could provide an incentive" for The Woodlands and Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac "to negotiate a contract with the Kansas Lottery in order to reopen these facilities with electronic gaming machines." The bill also would allow voters in Sedgwick County to decide whether to allow the also-closed Wichita Greyhound Park to have lottery-operated gaming machines.

Each track would be required to have 400-1,200 machines. Racetrack revenue from gaming devices would increase from 25% to 61% at a track with horse and dog racing and 25% to 60% at a track that has either horse or dog racing.

The bill calls for removal of an earnings cap on purses for horse and dog racing. The current 7% share would remain in the law, but a limit of a $3,750 average per machine would be removed so purses and breed development would earn the full amount.

The fiscal note states that the bill "would require that electronic gaming machines revenue collected at Greyhound tracks be used to support the Live Greyhound Racing Purse Supplement Fund, and electronic gaming machine revenue collected at a horse racetrack be used to support the Live Horse Racing Purse Supplement Fund." At a track with both forms of racing, both funds would receive their 7%.

The Woodlands, located just across the border from Missouri, has separate grandstands and racing surfaces for horse and dog racing.