One of the biggest stories of 2007 was the passage of Senate Bill 66, pushing through expanded gaming after nearly a 13-year fight.



One of the biggest stories of 2008 was the failure of that bill’s intentions to come to fruition.

One of the biggest stories of 2007 was the passage of Senate Bill 66, pushing through expanded gaming after nearly a 13-year fight.

One of the biggest stories of 2008 was the failure of that bill’s intentions to come to fruition.

A year that started with such promise for gaming saw officials at The New Frontier at Camptown Greyhound Park reveal plans for a $25 to $30 million renovation to the facility. But just a few months later, construction closed down as they were unable to agree with the percentage that the track’s slots would have to pay toward the state. The Ruffin family, owners of the track, said Camptown would go out of business if it paid the minimum rate mandated by the bill and stated the need for a revised expanded gaming bill that allowed more leeway with negotiations.

The Ruffins also ran out of luck in Wichita, where expanded gaming was rejected, meaning that the Wichita Greyhound Park couldn’t have slots. The track closed almost immediately.

Casinos didn’t fare much better in 2008. After viewing the success the Downstream Casino had just across the border, Penn National Gaming withdrew its application for a destination casino. That was after Penn National announced its intent to “phase in” its investment, a plan that didn’t include the construction of the actual hotel until later years.

There is still yet a sliver of hope. Legislators will likely breach the bill again in 2009, something that the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission took into account when they delayed a decision on whether to revoke Camptown’s racing license until June — one month after the legislative session is scheduled to end.