"All we are asking for is parity between horse racing and casino gambling tax percentages and bring back racing to Kansas," said Jeff Rutland, owner of Rutland Ranch, Independence. Currently, according to Rutland, the problem is the casinos are required to pay the state 22 percent for the revenue from net machine income while the racetracks are required to pay 40 percent. "This formula doesn't work, and it has forced the racetrack in the state to shut down,"  Rutland said. 

Rutland and the organization that represents racing in Kansas, Greater Kansan Racing Alliance (GKRA) are asking the state for an even solution. "It is a simple fix ... allow the share from the tracks to be reduced to the same 22 percent the casinos must pay and we will bring back a huge asset to Kansas," He stated. 

"We are not expanding the gambling," he continued. "We will have a few more machines at a different facility but it will be a facility (race tracks). All we are trying to do is make us equal to the casinos." 

Rutland states a study done by a University of Kansas professor in December of 2016 that illustrates how the restoration of the racing industry in Kansas would create over 3,000 jobs and add approximately $200 million into the state's economy annually.  

"We feel the argument the casinos, primarily the destination casinos, are making comes from the State Attorney General's (Derek Schmidt) opinion he issued last year," said Rutland. 

Even though two distinct sections of SB 66 (the original Kansas Expanded Lottery Act - KLEA) spoke to specific requirements for racetrack gaming facilities as well as lottery gaming facilities (destination casinos). 

The opinion of Greater Kansas Racing Alliance (GKRA), is for the State to do what is right and allow the courts to determine if Wichita Greyhound Park can be allowed to have slot machines. The term "similar facility" in the law is a non-starter once the intent of the law is researched, said Rutland.

In 2007, the Kansas Legislature was presented with the KELA which allowed for the state of Kansas to own and operate a destination casino resort in four gambling zones — northeast, southeast, south central and southwest — within the state of Kansas. In addition, KELA allowed each of the licensed pari-mutuel tracks within the state to contract with the Kansas Lottery to have slot machines placed at the tracks.

A vote was held in each of the gaming zones regarding the KELA to approve the casino as well as slot machines at the race track. The vote for the casino and sot machines passed in both the northeast and southeast zones. The southwest zone voted in favor of a casino. It was in the south central zone, Sedggwick County, that voted against both the casino and slot machines at the racetrack. As a result of the vote denying slot machines at Wichita Greyhound Park closed. 

In June 2008, the Kansas supreme Court issued their decision that the KELA was constitutional which cleared the way for both the destination casinos and the remaining racetracks to move forward under the KELA. However, neither the Woodlands or Camptown Greyhound Park were able to negotiate a contract with the Kansas Lottery to operate slot machines at the facilities. On August 23, 2008, the Woodlands ceased operations.

"In 1985, my barn had 148 stalls and every stall was full and now we are empty," said Rutland. For over 60 years, Rutland Ranch has operated a successful breeding, racing, and training program and raising winning horses and champions.

According to Scott Beeler, attorney for Greater Kansas Racing Alliance (GKRA), "What the Kansas House of Representatives bill, HB 2173, means for Kansas is to revitalize an Agricultural industry which supports the breeding and racing of horses and greyhounds. Active racetrack facilities in our state will serve to economically support on only the business of live racing but also the man ancillary businesses which support racing, from breeders, vets, outfitters, feed industry, track operations, concessions, equipment providers, and more," Beeller said. 

It is believed by the GKRA organization, the bill would provide a pathway to new private revenue investment in the state could reach millions in new development dollars. "This bill would allow all three of the now shuttered racetracks to retooled, redeveloped and reopened, thereby, creating job opportunities across the state," said Beeler.