Billionaire Phil Ruffin wins Kansas HHR license to open casino in Sedgwick County

Billionaire Phil Ruffin wins Kansas HHR license to open casino in Sedgwick County

American businessman Phil Ruffin will finally be able to put gambling machines inside his Wichita Greyhound Park, thanks to the Kansas Racing & Gaming Commission (KRGC) that awarded a license for the same.

The 88-year-old billionaire wanted to launch a casino in Kansas for more than two twenty years. Thus, the license allowing installation of historical horse racing (HHR) machines to the former Wichita Greyhound Park is just like a dream come true for the business tycoon.

The so-called HHRs look & operate like Las Vegas-style slot machines but they somewhat differ because their upshots are based on formerly run horse races. Some describe HHRs as pari-mutuel wagering devices. Last year, the Kansas Legislature approved a bill to authorize KRGC to issue a single HHR license. Ruffin won that lone license.

Ruffin has plans to bring a casino equipped with HHRs to the former Wichita Greyhound Park in Sedgwick County in the Sunflower State. the business tycoon is quite optimistic that he will be able to open the casino before the end of 2024. The HHR license will allow Ruffin to operate a maximum of 1,000 HHR machines at the designated casino in Sedgwick County.

A total of three companies had applied for the lone HHR license. One of the them was Boyd Gaming, but KRGC officials invalidated its application because the Las Vegas-headquartered casino operator is already operating the Kansas Star Casino on the behalf of Kansas Lottery.

The third applicant subsequently withdrew its application just before the announcement of the winner of the licence. That left Ruffin the lone applicant in the line for the permit. The KRGC formally approved Ruffin’s application during its meeting on Thursday last week.

Announcing the winner, KRGC Chairman David Moses said, “With the presentations, with the information they provided during the application process as well as during those three days of hearings overwhelmingly convinced us they had the wherewithal, economics, the ability and the vision to be successful with a HHR casino.”

Ruffin has plans to spend $128 million to transform his former Wichita Greyhound Park into a casino & country music venue. The planned gambling-friendly property will be called the Golden Circle, which will employ nearly 400 people. Once the HHR operations start producing profits for Ruffin, he’ll consider adding a 110-room hotel to the venue.

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