TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW & AP) — Kansas has legalized sports betting. But the state was sued almost immediately Thursday by a state-owned casino operator over an unrelated part of the law designed to revive a long-closed greyhound track in its area.
State officials and others weren’t sure ahead of Gov. Kelly’s signing of sports betting legislation Thursday when sports fans would be able to start making wagers.
The lawsuit is from the Kansas Star Casino operated by Boyd Gaming about 15 miles south of Wichita near Mulvane.
The casino has a contract with the lottery and says that contract has been breached because the new law allows improper competition from new gambling devices at Wichita Greyhound Park.
Boyd Gaming sent KSN News this statement:
The Governor’s signing of Senate Bill 84 into law authorizes sports betting in the state of Kansas as well as the placement of up to 1,000 so-called “historical horse-racing machines” (“HHRs”) in Sedgwick County.
Although Boyd supports sports betting, the addition of HHRs in Sedgwick County violates our contract with the state of Kansas. In that contract, the State guarantees that Kansas Star will be the only property authorized to offer casino gaming in Sumner and Sedgwick counties until at least 2026. Boyd has lived up to its obligations, successfully operated the Kansas Star and invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Kansas Star based on the State’s contractual promise.
HHRs are gaming devices that are indistinguishable under the law and to a player from a traditional slot machine. They look like slot machines, play like slot machines and are marketed like slot machines.
It is unfortunate that the State has enacted into law the placement of 1,000 of these HHR machines in direct violation of our contract. The Attorney General has issued two separate opinions confirming that such a law would violate the contract, and legislators issued similar warnings before its passage.
We are therefore left with only one choice to protect our rights under our contract, and that is to file a lawsuit challenging those provisions of Senate Bill 84 that allow for HHRs in Sedgwick County.
David Strow Vice President, Corporate CommunicationsBoyd Gaming Corporation
The Associated Press contributed to this article