hillip Ruffin, a former Wichita resident, said that his option on the dog and horse track is good until the end June. “We will not close on the deal unless we get gaming. Slots are imperative to get that thing going,” he said.
The 2007 law allowing slot machines at Kansas’s pari-mutuels tracks created a 40 percent tax on their revenue, said Patrick Martin, General Counsel of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission. Track owners have cited the tax as the reason they’ve not added slot machines, he said.
Ruffin said the company plans to own all three Kansas pari-mutuels racetracks if the state approves casino gambling at the sites. He also owns Wichita Greyhound Park.
The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission revoked licenses for all three tracks in June after years of inactivity at the sites. The commission had postponed final action against the tracks beginning in about 2008, when The Woodlands closed.
Ruffin said The Woodlands had US$7 million in annual operational losses under previous management.
“Pari-mutuel is not a viable business without slots, the proliferation of casino gambling has really hurt that business,” he said.
Ruffin explained that reopening the Kansas City track would provide jobs, draw visitors to the region and stimulate local demand for agricultural products required by racehorses, such as feed, hay and bedding.