Bids Begin To Blossom For Kansas Historical Horse Racing License

Written By Derek Helling on March 2, 2023
historical horse racing kansas gambling wichita

A 2022 Kansas gambling expansion law had two primary aspects, although one dramatically overshadowed the other in the public square. The less frequently discussed element of that expansion was opening the state up to historical horse racing (HHR).

That aspect of gaming in Kansas is now taking some of the spotlight as multiple companies have submitted bids for a license to offer the activity. The proposals include much more than a room with some gaming terminals in it, too.

Kansas gambling eyes HHR facility

When Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed the law that legalized sports betting last May, she simultaneously created an avenue for regulated historical horse racing in the state. As a result, the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission has some new business to attend to.

Late last year, it put out a request for applications regarding the state’s HHR facility license. Recently, the Commission has received at least three such applications.

Boyd Gaming, which already operates the Kansas Star Casino, wants to expand its footprint in the Sunflower State. According to Craig Andres and Daniel Fair of KSN.com, Boyd has proposed building a new gaming facility focusing on HHR gaming in Park City.

Additionally, Hannah Adamson and Fair report that Flint Hills Entertainment has submitted a proposal as well. They would like to use the license in Wichita’s Towne West Square. Furthermore, Las Vegas casino owner Phil Ruffin has applied for the license, focusing his bid on the Wichita Greyhound Park.

It’s unclear whether this will represent the total number of applications. The law gives the Commission a month to consider and respond to each. Boyd Gaming has shared the most details about its contingent plans.

HHR gaming could be coming to Park City

According to Shelby Kellerman of the Wichita Business Journal, Boyd’s proposed facility would be called the Diamond Jo Park City Casino. The proposed location, adjacent to the Hartman Arena on its south side, would include a lot of the usual amenities.

The plans feature multiple dining opportunities, convention space, and a live entertainment venue. Boyd would also maximize the value of the license by offering the full allowable complement of 1,000 HHR terminals.

For those unfamiliar, historical horse racing is not magically reviving deceased horses and racing with them despite the name’s suggestion. The terminals resemble traditional slot machines in their appearance and gameplay.

The main difference is that instead of using a random number generator to determine the results of plays, HHR terminals use the actual results of real horse races that have already taken place. For sure, HHR gaming is coming to Sedgwick County, Kansas. Soon, residents will know who is bringing it.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is the assistant managing editor of PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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