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Kansas QHRA Supports Reopening State Tracks

KQHRA supports the Kansas Agricultural Opportunity Act

April 25, 2012

Generic Racing Shot

The Kansas Quarter Horse Racing Association has joined the Greyhound Industry and a Wichita based grassroots organization with more than 10,000 members in support of the Kansas Agricultural Opportunity Act (KAOA).

“This legislation is all about jobs in rural Kansas,” said KQHRA President Rita Osborn. “Restoring live racing in Kansas will create more than 6,000 jobs, some of which will start immediately after the new law becomes effective.”

According to Osborn, more than 2,000 jobs will be created by the reopening of Wichita Greyhound Park, Camptown Greyhound Park, the Woodlands in Kansas City and Eureka Downs. “The closure of those tracks in 2007 and 2008 not only cost jobs at the track facilities but also communities across the state. Abilene, Eureka, and Anthony were associated with the Greyhound and Horse industry and were hit hardest.”

According to a series of industry studies, reopening the tracks could bring $200 million dollars in direct economic impact statewide, and could add more than $20 million to the local economy in the Eureka/Greenwood County region.
KAOA is a big economic development opportunity

With the investment in track facilities and the development of a new casino in Southeast Kansas the total economic impact could exceed $500 million when you include the dramatic increase in investment on the agricultural side of the ledger.

“That’s half a billion in new investments and economic growth, without special eco-devo incentives,” said Rick Loveall, leader of the WichitaWins effort in Sedgwick County, where the KAOA would provide the opportunity for reopening Wichita Greyhound Park. “Restarting the track would bring more than 500 jobs and generate $100 million in new investment in Sedgwick County, where Boeing recently announced plans to close its operations with the loss of more than 2,000 jobs.”

“Jobs are a priority for most people we hear from,” Loveall added. “It’s hard to believe that the legislature would ignore this opportunity to put 6,000 jobs on the table in communities that sorely need them.”

Small towns see the KAOA benefits, too.

“The greyhound and horse industry touches many other businesses in the local community, said Osborn “Suppliers, veterinarians, farm supply and basic services like car dealers, accountants and grocery stores will feel the benefit of a renewed horse and greyhound industry.”

Reopening Eureka Downs in Greenwood County offers an interesting benefit to the school district in that community. “Eureka Downs creates nearly 100 summer jobs when the track is operating,” said Osborn. “The track provides part time work for teachers and others in the community when the horses are running.”

“One hundred jobs, even part time, have a big impact on our community as a whole,” Osborn added. “Hotels, convenience stores and restaurants all see the benefit of the horse meets that have been held for more than 100 years in the community. It is hard to overstate the value of bringing hundreds of horses to Eureka when the track is running. The closure of the tracks left many Kansas horse operators no alternative but to take their operations to other states, when they could be staying right here in the state.”

“Kansas authorized gaming in 2007,” Kansas Greyhound Association President Ward said. “The casinos are here. Racetrack facilities generate three times the jobs because of the agriculture element. This is no longer a gaming issue, it’s about thousands of jobs that touch all corners of the state,” said Ward. “It’s time to get the jobs where they are needed. Surely the legislature has time to take a close look at this opportunity.”