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    Posted byadmin on Wednesday, December 07 @ 12:50:30 EST
    Contributed by admin

    Wichita Business Journal by Emily Behlmann, Web producer Date: Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 4:24pm CST

    An interesting invitation appeared in my email inbox today: “Come see and hear more about an exciting plan to open the Wichita Greyhound Park.

    The invitation was for an event from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Office This, 4031 E. Harry, hosted by a group called Wichita Wins. The group plans to provide information at the meeting about the benefits of reopening the facility.

    Dogs used to race at the greyhound park north of Wichita, but it closed in 2007 after Sedgwick County voters defeated a proposal to allow slot machines there.

    The facility remains under the ownership of Ruffin Cos., the company of Wichita native and Las Vegas billionaire Phil Ruffin.

    Ruffin told me earlier this year that he’s interested in reopening the greyhound park, but that it’s not a viable business without slots.

    Ruffin Cos. was trying to get support in the 2011 legislative session for a bill that would make gaming more feasible. The 2007 law allowing slot machines at Kansas pari-mutuel tracks created a 40 percent tax on their revenue.

    This new effort, however, appears to be coming from outside Ruffin Cos. The company’s CFO, Bill Shea, said Tuesday that he’d heard about the Thursday meeting, but that he’s not involved with it.

    The invite came from resident Rick Loveall on behalf of a group called Wichita Wins. When I reached Loveall by phone, he told me about the effort, though he says he’s not an official spokesman for what he described as a grassroots group.

    Loveall says he understands there are hurdles to bringing gaming to the track. However, he says reopening the greyhound park would create jobs and new infrastructure investment without requiring government subsidies.

    “I think this is a win-win situation,” he said.

    Wichita Wins already has generated at least some backing in the form of about 199 “likes” and an array of supportive comments on a group Facebook page

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