Commissioners to consider electronic gaming in Sedgwick County

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Electronic gaming is once again a hot topic in Sedgwick County.

“I hope that people will, as they discuss this, think about it,” said Jim Howell, Sedgwick County commissioner. “Come at this with a full knowledge of exactly what they’re talking about.”

In 2007, the idea was barely defeated.

At least one of the county commissioners brought it up again last week.

Now, the commission is expected to discuss this at Tuesday’s staff meeting, and it could be up for a commissioner vote on Wednesday.

This is the first time commissioners will consider and discuss the topic as a group.

Some said they’ll have to move quickly if they want to get it on the November ballot.

“People don’t know what going on,” said Howell. “People haven’t been informed yet. I think it’s a disservice to the people. We talk about transparent, accountable, available, respectful government. You don’t do things quickly, certainly not of this magnitude.”

Another issue for some commissioners is the possibility of penalties.

There has been a contract in place with the state and the Kansas Star Casino. If there is any kind of legal infringement, staff will need to consider any possible legalities there. Some commissioners said if there is an infringement, any fees associated with that would likely come from taxpayer dollars.

“About the only reason I can think besides public perception maybe wanting it on there, but also, we would get one percent of the gaming revenue,” said David Dennis, chairman of the Sedgwick County Board of Commission.

But, there’s no guarantee that there would be an increase in overall gaming revenue.

While there are still many questions, some commissioners are on board, while others remain skeptical.

“I can’t predict how it’s going to go,” said Howell. “What are the odds? I don’t know.”

KSN reached out to the other county commissioners for their opinions on this topic, but they were not available for comment on Labor Day.

Tuesday’s staff meeting is open to the public and begins at 9:00 a.m.

KSN will be at the meeting and keep you updated with the latest online and on-air.

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