The Woodlands racetrack in Kansas City, Kansas, once home to off-track betting and to live horse, greyhound and wiener dog racing, has been closed since 2008. Now Phil Ruffin, a wealthy businessman from Wichita, has acquired the option to buy the track.
Still, the crux of the deal is held up by the same issue that caused the track's current owner, Howard Grace, to shut it down: Kansas laws that prohibit the installation of slot machines at racetracks.
Ruffin needs a Kansas senator to propose a bill allowing for slots at the Woodlands. He told The Kansas City Star that it could be pitched as a jobs bill. "You're talking 7,000 or 8,000 jobs total, counting the vets, the
purchasers, the horsemen, the dog men, all the farmers," Ruffin said.
If legislation goes Ruffin's way, he says he can have the Woodlands' track open by year's end. Ruffin also owns dog-racing tracks in Wichita and Frontenac and promises
to open all three tracks if slots are allowed.
Ruffin likely has a few shoulders to tap for the favor. He's the owner of the Treasure Island Hotel and Casino and part owner of the Trump Tower, both on the Las Vegas strip. But previous attempts to legalize slot machines at racetracks have failed.