Kansas Lottery Commission Weighs Contracts

The Kansas Lottery is reviewing the contracts of three competitors who want to develop a state-owned casino in the southeast gaming zone. Commissioners will announce on Friday who will move on to the next round—review by the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which will have up to 60 days to name a winner.

After hearing presentations in Topeka and reviewing contracts, on Friday, April 24, the Kansas Lottery Commission will announce which of three competitors for a southeast gaming zone license will move to the next round. Those selected will go to the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which will have up to 60 days to choose a winner or send the contract back to lottery officials for more negotiations. The Kansas Racing & Gaming Commission will have 10 days to do a background investigation before final approval. The winner will be required to invest at least million and pay a fee of .5 million.

The commission’s original deadline was Wednesday, April 22, but the board had further financial questions for Wichita native Phil Ruffin, owner of Treasure Island in Las Vegas, regarding his Frontenac Development group’s proposed Camptown Casino near Frontenac. The other proposed developments are Castle Rock Casino Resort, led by Wichita businessmen Rodney Steven II and Brandon Steven, and Kansas Crossing Casino & Hotel near Pittsburg, owned by group including Wichita developer George Laham and developers from elsewhere in Kansas.

Camptown Casino spokesperson Scott Cooper said the $79 million project was renamed after the Quapaw Tribe left the proposal. Ruffin originally planned to partner with the tribe but it pulled out after Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt filed a lawsuit in federal court to try to block the tribe from expanding its Downstream Casino into Kansas.

Cooper stressed the facility could open in less than 12 months and would offer 750 slot machines and 20 table games, plus a Gilley’s Saloon restaurant. In addition, phase one would include a 62-room hotel, buffet, center bar, gift shop and snack bar/deli round. Phase two would feature a 6,000 square foot convention/entertainment complex and a 50-pad RV park. Cooper added the complex would attract nearly 950,000 visitors annually, including 2,600 visitors a day, and generate revenue of $50 million with an estimated economic impact of $72 million for Crawford County and $81 million for Kansas. The project would create 250 full-time jobs.

Lottery commissioners questioned whether the Camptown Casino investment met the minimum requirements. Cooper said the project’s $79 million investment included existing property worth $25 million and an estimated $21.7 million to complete it. Lottery Commission members noted the appraised value was $1 million. But Cooper said that $1 million figure was due to it being unoccupied. Commissioners extended the deadline to give Camptown more time to provide details.

The $64.7 million Kansas Crossing would be located in Crawford County at U.S. Highways 69 and 400. The full-service casino would offer 625 slot machines and 16 table games. A 120-room Hampton Inn, the Mining Company restaurant and a 400-seat event center round also would be included, providing 275 full-time jobs.

Officials of the $135 million Castle Rock Casino and Resort in Cherokee County said the complex could open by August 2016 and feature 1,400 slots, 35 table games and a separate poker room, as well as 200-room hotel, 24-hour restaurant/sports bar, steakhouse, coffee shop, food court, buffet and 27,000 square feet of meeting space. The project would create 900 full-time jobs and generate $80 million in gaming revenues plus more than $800,000 in gaming tax for Crawford County.