Wichita Says “No” to Casinos

In a special election held yesterday, Sedgwick County voters decisively rejected allowing casinos here, by a margin of 56% to 44%. A related proposition to allow slot machines at the local dog track was also defeated, although by a much narrower margin.

Sedgwick became the only county to reject expanded gambling of the six counties eligible for a casino and slots under the state’s new expanded gambling law.

The vote clears the way for Sumner County, which approved a gambling referendum in 2005, to pursue a casino without any competition in the south-central area.

The folks in nearby Wellington (Sumner County), which lies between Sedgwick County and the Oklahoma line, are cheering. They can have the casinos, with the social problems that come with them.

The defeat not only keeps casinos out of Sedgwick County, it will apparently reduce even the current level of legal gambling that goes on in the county. The owner of the local dog track says he will close the operation within three months.

People complain about Wichita being a boring, unexciting little town. If a casino is their idea of excitement, I’ll take that label as a compliment.

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