Our Western Heritage

Our Western Heritage
Front Street, Dodge City, circa 1879

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kansas Gaming Director Stephen Martino: Higher ethics required for gambling management

Stephen Martino, Kansas Racing & Gaming Commission Executive Director, gave a speech (with questions taken) to the Dodge City Rotary Club public lunch forum held Wednesday, July 23. The major keynote and theme of the speech was Mr. Martino's clear and serious statements about the ethics rules imposed on the whole KS Gaming commission -- not only can they not have any financial interest,etc., in a Kansas casino, but can't even stay at the future hotels that will part of the Ford County - Dodge City casino when built.

Stephen Martino has been in the position since appointed in 2005 by Governor Sebelius. He is a lawyer, and also founded the Kansas Responsible Gambling Alliance, "a group of state agencies and interest groups involved in responsible gambling promotion and problem gambling treatment."

It will be of interest how local conflict of interest issues affect the casino review board's decision -- Mr. Martino is not on it -- but if his speech is any indication, it wouldn't seem good for any applicant to be anywhere near any ethical or legal issues at all, let along be directly involved in a formal business manner.

The issue will be presented in the brief comment section of the July 31st public hearings in Dodge City for Butler National Services Inc. and Dodge City Gaming Inc.

Whatever the outcome, Mr. Martino was very sincere and serious about the requirement of his agency to hold to a higher ethical standard than even required by law.

Thank you for that, Stephen.

Best, Uncle George
(note: no financial connections to any of the proposals, the land, the land sales, the road construction, the water wells, none, nope.)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co. presentation:

Dodge City Casino Presentation by Dodge City Resort and Gaming Co.

...If Dodge City Resort and Gaming's proposal is selected by the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board for further development, the casino would be built on 281 acres in the northeast corner of the city by Highway 50. The Western-style casino would consist of 800 gaming machines, 20 gaming tables, conventions and meeting rooms, three rodeo arenas, an RV park and livestock showroom and several buildings reminiscent of Front Street in the 1880s....

...During the first year of operation, the casino developer would pay the state about $13 million in gaming revenues as well as property, local and sales taxes, said Joseph. Of that amount, $1.3 million would be split evenly between the Ford County and Dodge City....

Time that Dodge City and Ford County citizens faced facts -- $1.3 million oh boy -- with need for expanded fire, EMS and police force....... property taxes watch out. We're high anyway. Guess we're going to be higher.

Makes matters even more expensive for the Butler National Services proposal -- way out 2 miles west of town. No fire/EMS near it at all. Will require a new fire station I would bet. Money, money, money. And none of it for you or me. Darn it. Unless you're the winner at the casino. Yup, that one. Or you're the real estate CFAB chair broker for Butler National, if they get it.

Don't bet on that yet, folks. The massive complaints about conflict of interest concerning one CFAB Chair Greg Starks may take up an hour at the July 31st public statement part of the review. Might make a difference, might not.

But given the time delays that could be caused by legal action against the Events Center location, et al, I would suggest that the Kansas state review board (hi, board members) might not want to bet on income for the state of Kansas for a long time if that west location is chosen -- unless one CFAB Chair resigns before the July 31 meeting. Then, no issue.

Best, Uncle George (note: no financial connections to any of the proposals, the land, the land sales, the road construction, the water wells, none, nope.)