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Future brightens for Ruffin's Kansas dog track

Jan 26, 2009 7:31 PM
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.