On July 29th, 2008, Kansas Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten said that Kansas is continuing its talks with the Woodlands in the hopes of reaching an agreement that would allow slot machines at the horse and dog racing tracks in Kansas City, Kansas and keep that business open to the public. The development comes after the Woodlands made an announcement last week that it would shut down after its August 23rd, 2008 races because it had not agreed a final contract with the Lottery.
The Woodlands commented that they have faced declining profits for years and has been operating at financial loss for a long time now. Van Petten said that Woodlands believe that it is not reasonable for them to continue operating anymore although they are still continuing talks with them.
Jayme LaRocca, the Woodlands general manager said that he is hopeful that something can be decided between them and the Kansas State Lottery to allow slot machines. They were allowed by a law passed last year, which also gives permission to four state-owned casinos but Woodlands complained that the law would not give racing tracks a good opportunity to earn more profits from the slot machines.
The law gives forty percent of profits from slot machines to the state, twenty-five percent to the racing track and twenty percent to local governments and various funds to help horse, dogs and smaller racing tracks and gambling addicts. The remaining fifteen percent is still negotiable. Van Petten commented that the state will allow the Woodlands racing track to keep the entire fifteen percent but Woodland says that it will still not be enough to cover their expenses and give them a reasonable chance to profit.
Van Petten said that they are looking for other options to give a hand to Woodlands, like the reworking the expense of oversight and regulations, which Woodlands is required to pay.