Kansas bill could bring dog racing back to the state

Capitol Bureau

Kansas lawmakers returned back to work Thursday and have until May 4 to finish the session. With the short period of time, lawmakers could pass legislation bringing greyhound racing back to the state. 

About two dozen people gathered on the Capitol lawn Thursday morning to rally against two bills, which could bring back dog racing in the state. 

“They are product of the greyhound racing industry,” explained Julie Bates, who brought her two greyhounds with her to the rally. “Frida never made it to racing because she broke her leg in training.”

Right now, it’s legal to race dogs in Kansas, but no race tracks have been operational since 2008. 
Two bills, which could be brought to the floor during the veto session, could change that.

Under the bills, racetracks with slot machines would have to pay about 22 percent of their earnings back to the state, which is the same amount state-run casinos pay to the state. 

Under current state law, racetracks pay about 40 percent of earnings back to the state.

“This would be a big boost to all three facilities,” said State Rep. Adam Lusker, D-Frontenac.

Camptown Greyhound Park is in Lusker’s district. The facility currently sits empty. 

“There are no jobs there now. They’re not paying much in property taxes,” explained Lusker. 

He added that could change if the bills pass. 

“It’s over 4,000 jobs statewide and in my community, in Crawford County, it’s over 400 jobs,” he said. 

Bates said she is grateful she rescued her dogs from racing, and said she doesn’t want to see other greyhounds on the racing track. 

The Senate could take up its version of the bill Friday. 

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