Daily Archives: July 31, 2008

Can Kansas save The Woodlands?

Casino Watch has reported that The Woodlands, one of Kansas oldest live horse and dog racing tracks, announced they were going out of business on Aug 24th due to market forces and an unworkable deal with the state to include slot machines at the track.  Now Forbes is reporting that Kansas is attempting to keep The Woodlands open:

The state of Kansas is continuing talks with the Woodlands in the hopes of reaching a deal that would put slot machines at the horse and dog tracks in Kansas City, Kan., and keep that business open, Kansas Lottery Executive Director Ed Vane Petten said Tuesday… The Woodlands said it has faced declining revenues for years and has been operating at a financial loss for some time.

“Right now, with the numbers the way they are, the market the way it is, it just won’t work for them, but we do continue to have a dialogue with them,” Van Petten told reporters.

As it stands, Kansas would take in 60% of the slots revenue, 40% to the state and 20% to the local government and various operations, and the track would take in 25% with the remaining 15% to be negotiated.  However, Forbes explains why even a deal to give the entire 15% to the track may not be enough:

Van Petten said the state will allow the Woodlands to have the entire 15 percent, but the Woodlands says it still won’t have enough revenue to cover its costs and give it a reasonable profit. Van Petten said the Lottery is looking at other options to help the Woodlands, including reworking the costs of oversight and regulation, which the Woodlands must pay.

“I don’t think we can go in and ask them to invest the millions of dollars it will take to get an electronic gaming facility up and running and continue to lose money,” Van Petten said. “So we continue to work with them to look at any possible way to get a better deal for the state of Kansas and keep these race tracks viable.”

Another possibility is asking the Legislature to rewrite the law to give the Woodlands a bigger percentage. However, some are concerned about a possible push to repeal the gambling law if the subject were reopened.

With a slumping economy, competition from surrounding casino’s, a market that doesn’t seem willing to support tracks and the fear of repealing current gambling laws should there be an attempt to legislate a solution with The Woodlands, it seems like a dim possibility of saving the track.

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