State owned casinos in Kansas losing out on millions of dollars due to coronavirus

Joplin Area Coronavirus

KANSAS — State owned casinos in Kansas are losing out on millions of dollars because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Compared to last year’s revenues, casinos are down more than $90 million since the crisis began.

State owned casinos closed in March and were shut down for all of April. Then they began re-opening in late May.

22% of what a casino makes goes to the state, which means Kansas has lost about $20 million from the casinos alone.

That money could be spent on paying down debt and infrastructure improvements or to help reduce property taxes.

When casinos reopened as cases started to decrease, officials noticed a different trend among pent-up gamblers.

Keith Kocher, Kansas Lottery Director Of Gaming Facilities, said, “Fewer numbers of people coming into the casino after we reopened, but those people were spending more per person and so revenue-wise that sort of kept it up a little bit.”

Since then the amount of spending has started to drop off. Total revenues are averaging about 17 to 21% less than 2019. But officials say it’s better than nothing.

They say casinos are working hard to stay open by cleaning, having people distance, and requiring masks.

“The casinos are doing their level best to follow all the standards, to keep everything spic and span, clean. They really have gone above and beyond in my opinion and they’re all four doing a very good job, so I feel they are one of the safer places to go because they’re under a microscope.”

It’s not just the state and casinos that hurt when people aren’t gambling. Less money is heading to local governments and to help address addiction problems.

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