Friday, December 9, 2022

Boyd Gaming suing Kansas state over breach of contract

Boyd Gaming is suing the state of Kansas over a provision in its new sports betting law.

The law allows for 1,000 horseracing machines to stay in operation at the Wichita Greyhound Park. 

The greyhound park is owned by Phil Ruffin, the owner of Treasure Island, who intends to sell the shuttered racetrack; which has been closed since Sedgewick County voters rejected the use of slot machines at the park back in 2007. 

Boyd operates Kansas Star Casino, which sits 15 miles south of the Wichita Greyhound Park. The operator believes the state of Kansas is breaching its contract to prohibit similar gaming facilities at non-casino locations.

Boyd has argued that historical horseracing machines at Wichita Greyhound Park are “indistinguishable” from the slot machines used at its Kansas Star casino.  

The operator draws upon its contract with Kansas, which stipulates that should external slot machines be similar to its own, the state would owe Boyd a $25m penalty fee.  

Boyd’s intention to sue, however, was an action that Kansas state expected. Slot tracks were recently legalised once more, a motion which voters approved.  

New laws stipulate revenues from horseracing machines would be taxed at 40%, 15% more than the tax rate from slot machines in Boyd’s casino, as well as at the three other operating casinos in the state. 

Kansas introduced these higher tax rates for machines at racing parks to keep “a level playing field” between both casinos and racing venues, as casinos typically have far higher investment costs. 

It would appear, though, that the higher tax rates for racing tracks are not enough to stop Boyd from suing the state in which it operates.  

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