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State officials approve Ruffin’s plan to develop casino at former greyhound park

Courtesy photo
Park City

The former Wichita Greyhound Park has been closed since 2007.

The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission on Thursday approved a plan by casino magnate Phil Ruffin to develop a historical horse racing facility at the former Wichita Greyhound Park.

The plan will add 1,000 historical horse racing machines at a new casino called the Golden Circle. The devices resemble slot machines and allow people to bet on replays of past horse races.

Ruffin Holdings was the sole remaining applicant after one applicant, Flint Hills Entertainment, dropped out and another, Boyd Gaming, was disqualified because it also operates the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane.

Phil Ruffin Jr. was at the commission meeting where the plan was selected.

“We’re ecstatic with the news,” he said. “It’s an iconic building – it’s been there since 1989, and there’s a lot of space in there; there’s a lot to do.”

Ruffin Jr. said the plan is to open the new casino in about 14 months.

Other amenities planned for the $84 million facility include a Gilley’s Dance Hall and Saloon, a hotel, an entertainment amphitheater and multiple dining options.

The Park City Council endorsed Ruffin’s plan and is expected to annex the land north of Wichita where the facility will be developed. Ruffin purchased the land from Sedgwick County in 2018.

R. Scott Beeler, an attorney who headed the application team for Ruffin, said the next step is to obtain a developer’s license to build the facility.

The new casino is permitted under the state’s sports betting bill, which went into effect last year.

Copyright 2023 KMUW | NPR for Wichita. To see more, visit KMUW | NPR for Wichita.

Daniel Caudill