A bill meant to bring expanded gaming back to southeast Kansas has drawn some issue from a local lawmaker.

A bill meant to bring expanded gaming back to southeast Kansas has drawn some issue from a local lawmaker.

On Thursday, State Reps. Bob Grant, Cherokee, and Doug Gatewood, Columbus, both Democrats, announced plans to introduce a bill that lowers investment minimums for a potential destination casino in the region and raises the take Camptown Greyhound Park would receive from slot machines.

However, newly-elected Rep. Terry Calloway, a Pittsburg Republican, said he was taken aback by the announcement.

“To be honest, I was surprised,” Calloway said. “At the same time, I was a little disappointed, because Bob (Grant) told me that it was coming down the pike.”

Calloway said that he was disappointed in the fact that he was not asked to support, or help introduce the bill. He added that the bill will need Republican support to pass the Kansas House, considering the GOP holds the majority.

“I can’t believe that they didn’t go a little further with the discussion,” Calloway said. “It makes headlines great, but you still have to get it done.

“I just don’t know where they will find the support for the bill.”

Grant acknowledged that he did visit with Calloway and state Sen. Bob Marshall, a Fort Scott Republican, about the new bill.

“I told him that I was introducing it and that it was ready to go,” Grant said. “I said I wasn’t going to mess with the bill from last year and I said we were putting it in for the track and the casino, where ever it goes.”

The new bill would lower the minimum investment for a destination casino in the Southeast Gaming Zone from $225 million to $100 million. It also increases the revenue that Camptown would receive from slot machines from 40 percent to 58 percent.

During the last session, the Kansas Senate defeated a similar proposal that included a re-vote for expanded gaming in Sedgwick County and added The Woodlands horse and dog track in the slot machine percentage discussion.

This new bill contains neither of those measures.

Grant said that the purpose of the bill is economic development.

“I’m sorry he feels that way, and I agree that we’ll need Republican support, but he never indicated to me that he wanted his name on it,” Grant said.

As for whether he would support the measure, Calloway said that he couldn’t say at this time.

“I want to look at it,” Calloway said. “There are so many things that sound good, but they have been trying to get gaming down here for 20 years and I don’t want to put my name on something that won’t do us any good.”

Matthew Clark can be reached at matthew.clark@morningsun.net or at 620-231-2600, Ext. 140