Future brightens for Ruffin’s Kansas dog track

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by Ray Poirier |
Phil Ruffin probably has his hands full with his impending $775
million purchase of the TI Hotel/Casino on the Las Vegas Strip but without his
lifting a finger the outlook for his Camptown Greyhound Park in Kansas looms
brighter.

The reason is simply that the Kansas Lottery officials, whose
charge it is to find casino operators willing to put up big bucks for a gaming
license, flubbed their opportunities during the first round of bidding.
Actually, the best hope they had of getting two properties built and operating
was with cash-rich Penn National Gaming Inc.

But when they awarded the license contract to cash-starved
Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. (a deal that soon fell apart) Penn National walked
away.

A rebidding opportunity for southeast Kansas ended last week
with no bidders. Officials cited the economy and the tight credit markets as
reasons for the lack of interest. This prompted one official to suggest that
revenue could be generated in the area if the lottery were to come to terms with
Ruffin on a realistic split of the money that slot machines at his dog track
would generate.

The timeframe for rebidding in southeast Kansas was extended but meanwhile
officials may come to rethink its approach to dog track slots.

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