Casino Developers Unveil Plans

The public got a first look at three new proposals for a Sumner County casino as developers presented their ideas to the County Commission Tuesday morning.

All three proposals include multi-million dollar, Las Vegas-style casinos as well as hotels and premium restaurants.

This is the third round of proposals to build in South-Central Kansas after a troublesome economy scarred off the winners of rounds one and two.

Harrah’s was given the green light by the state in 2008 to build but backed off after their partners bailed.  They’re back again with a new proposal.  Harrah’s says they’re confident they can draw customers to Kansas because of their massive player network.

“Filling those buildings, creating a dynamic exciting environment that creates a lot of traffic that’s the hard part,” said Trevor Busche.  “That’s what we do in 15 properties in the middle of the country, that’s what we do in Las Vegas.

Harrah’s proposal includes 1750 slot machines, 50 table games, a World Series of Poker Room, and a 100 room hotel with 15,000 square feet of marketing space.

The two other proposals come from new comers to the process.

The Kansas Star Casino planned for the Mulvane exit on the Kansas Turnpike comes from a development group out of Iowa that’s had success with rural market casinos.

They promise $1.5 million in scholarships and back-to-school gift cards each year to county students as well as a state-of-the-art equine center for rodeos and horse shows.

“The rodeo market and the show market is a large market that doesn’t have enough places to come and certainly doesn’t have enough places to come in this region and certainly not to same quality as we’re going to provide,” said Brent Stevens.

The Kansas Star Casino would feature a 150-room hotel, 1500 slot machines, a ten-table poker room and multiple restaurants.
The final plan is from Global Gaming, which would build the one that wants to build at the Wellington exit. Like the others, it calls for a Vegas-style casino, restaurants and a 1,400-seat entertainment venue. An 80-room hotel would be expanded as the market expands. Global Gaming also plans to upgrade a nearby golf course.

Global Gaming runs several casinos across the state line in Oklahoma and believes their experience close to Kansas gives them an edge.

“We know how those properties perform, we know where those customers come from, we know how many of them are local, we know how many of them come off 1-35, we know how many come from in the state or further away,” boasted John Elliott.

Their plan includes 1300 electronic games, 40 black jack tables, 20 poker tables, and a 4-star hotel.

County commissioners will meet again next Tuesday to decide how many of the plans they will endorse.  Public comment will be allowed at that next hearing.

A state board will have the final say on who wins the right to manage a casino for the state.

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