Equity Ventures announces its gaming partner for south central Kansas bid

Teresa Lee

A Topeka-based development group has named its gaming partner, one day before the deadline for casino proposals in the south central gaming zone.

Equity Ventures announced today that it, along with veteran Las Vegas executives, Mike Ensign and Peter Simon, will be filing an application for a Lottery Facility Gaming Manager’s license for the Prairie Sky Casino near Mulvane in the south central region.

Equity Ventures announced it would be submitting an application for a site west of the Arkansas River bridge located on the southeast corner of K-53 and Belle Plaine Road, in addition to the previously proposed Exit 33 location.

“Our partners, Mr. Ensign and Mr. Simon, have planned, developed and operated the most successful casinos in the Midwest. In today’s tough economic times we felt it important to reach out to partners who had this type of experience,” said Nancy Seitz, spokesperson for Equity Ventures.

Seitz says the phased development has one primary goal: to open as quickly as possible to provide both jobs and tax revenue to Sumner and Sedgwick counties and the state of Kansas. 

Details of the development will be filed tomorrow with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, Seitz said.

Ensign served as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Mandalay Resort Group, one of the leading owners and operators of world-class entertainment and business destinations including Gold Strike Casino Resort in Tunica, Mississippi; Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill.; and MotorCity Casino in Detroit, Mich.  He was also responsible for the development, planning and opening of Monte Carlo Resort Casino and for the expansion of Circus, Circus Hotel and Casino, Luxor Hotel and Casino, and the design, construction and opening of a completely unique marvel, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.  On behalf of shareholders, he negotiated the sale of Mandalay Resort Group to MGM/Mirage Corp. for $7.9 billion.

The other major partner, Simon, began his career in 1971 when he received his first gaming license to operate a small casino south of Las Vegas in Jean. Seeking to expand the casino, he founded Jean Utility Services to construct sewer and water facilities for the town of Jean. In 1987, Simon teamed up with Ensign to build the Goldstrike Casino Resort in Tunica, Miss. Along with Ensign, he was involved in the development of the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, Ill., and was Chairman of its Executive Committee. Simon was also instrumental in negotiating a development agreement for Casino Windsor with the Ontario Casino Control Commission and helping to negotiate with the City of Detroit for development of the MotorCity Casino.  

Seitz says the other individuals comprising the Equity Ventures group are longtime Topeka business people with extensive experience in general contracting, real estate development, and financial management throughout the Midwest and Kansas. Included in the group are Bruce Christenson, Mike McPherson, Bruce McPherson, James Walker and Jeff Ungerer.

Wellington Daily News