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Kansas Supreme Court upholds gambling law

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June 27, 2008

TOPEKA - The Kansas high court ruled unanimously that the 2007 Expanded Gambling Law to created "state-owned and -operated" casinos is constitutional.

The court said, "Ownership and operation are flexible concepts. While not providing for total and unambiguous ownership and operation by the state, (the law) contains sufficient indices of ownership and control for it to comply with the constitutional mandate."

After 14 years of debate in the state legislature, Kansas enacted a new gambling law last year authorizing construction of four state-owned resort casinos and adding slot machines to race tracks in Kansas City, KS and southeast Kansas. The new casinos will be built in Wyandotte County, Sumner County, Ford County (Dodge City), and either Cherokee or Crawford County.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius had asked the attorney general to challenge the law in state court to insure the law was constitutional before the investors and developers were selected and constructions began.

The new law is projected to bring $200 million additional revenues to the state. Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said, "The additional income to the state comes at a time when the national economic news is not good and will help us keep our commitments for strategic investments in a bright future for Kansas."

Attention now turns to the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which is reviewing casino applicants for each zone. The board will select one casino proposal for each zone later this year. The first casinos will open in late 2010.

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