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Kansas Casino Proposals Passes Zoning Hurdles

On May 18th, 2009, the two remaining casino proposals in Wyandotte County cleared planning and zoning blocks during a special meeting at City Hall. The Kansas City, Kansas Planning Commission recommended the approval of the revision of a preliminary gaming plan for the $387 million initial phase of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino adjacent to the Kansas Speedway.

The Planning Commission also approve a change of zoning petition and a special permit for the $320 million first phase of casino facility that has a Hollywood-theme next to the Schlitterbahn water park site. It is located east of Interstate 45 and north of State Avenue. The two gaming proposals are competing to manage a state-owned casino facility made possible by a law passed two years ago.

A 3rd proposal for a casino facility in Edwardsville was withdrawn by Golden Gaming of Las Vegas last week. Kansas Entertainment LLC, a collaboration between Kansas Speedway and the Cordish Co., submitted the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel proposal. The plan was similar to the one Kansas picked last year and that the casino developer withdrew after the fall of the economy due to the worldwide financial crisis.

When Kansas reopened the bidding process, Kansas Entertainment passed a phased-in casino project that will offer 2,300 slot machines and 86 casino table games in the initial phase. Speedway President Jeff Boerger stated that as part of the casino phase, the racing track would petition for a 2nd Sprint Cup Race. Boerger said that if it does not win one, the casino developers will give $5 million each to the state and Unified Government of the county.

The 1st phase would also feature more gaming space, a 65,000 square feet ballroom, parking area and a three hundred room hotel, bringing the overall investment to $700 million. Because it had previously submitted a casino plan, Kansas Entertainment did not have to apply for zoning modification. But Penn Hollywood Kansas Incorporated, which passed the casino proposal for Schlitterbahn, did.

A subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Incorporated of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, the casino developer has proposed a 1st phase with two thousand slot machines and fifty-eight casino table games, a 250 room hotel, three restaurants and two lounges.

Succeeding phases would add more than one thousand slot machines, another 250 hotel rooms and retail and entertainment facilities for a total investment of $500 million. The county's Unified Board of Commissioners is scheduled to decide on whether to approve the proposals at its June 4th, 2009 meeting. The Kansas Lottery Commission has until June 30th to negotiate contract with the two casino developers.


06/04/2009 20:48 PM


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