Casino action delayed
Sumner County will have to wait a little longer for a the Kansas Lottery to make a final decision on a destination casino.
The Kansas Racing and Gaming Facility Review Board unanimously voted to send the Chisholm Creek proposal back for consideration to the Kansas Lottery for renegotiations.
Chisholm Creek is the only remaining proposal for a casino in Sumner County after other developers decided to bow out of Sumner County or, in the case of Lakes Entertainment, join up with another developer.
Kansas Racing and Gaming Communications Director Mike Deines says Chisholm Creek requested the renegotiation for two reasons – the hotel and possible competition.
“They thought it was in their best interest to get this hotel portion buttoned down in their contract and then they also have some concerns about a tribal casino in Park City and so they want to talk that over with the lottery and see if there is anything they could do contractually to address that threat, if you will,” Deines said.
That would mean more gaming space and more gaming tables to keep them competitive with any other casinos that might pop up, he said.
Sumner County had several officials on hand for the meeting but it wasn't what they expected.
“Everything blew up,” said State Rep. Vince Wetta, D-Wellington. “Some people said they weren't ready, they didn't have their work done, they didn't have their infrastructure negotiated – the water, sewer, anything else. ... Other people say they are going to pull out but nobody really knows and they just sprung this,”
“Of course they were putting a positive spin on it, but it was asked of them, 'Does this mean they were wanting to withdraw' and they said no. They just felt like it would be a better contract and more secure for the lottery review board if they renegotiated,” said Sumner County Economic Development Director Janice Hellard.
“It could be a negative in the end if they were to some reason not get those final negotiations redone with the lottery commission and then if nobody agrees to a contract, we will have to start all over again,” Hellard said.
On the off chance Chisholm Creek would opt out of building the casino, it's unclear if a third round would be more beneficial than the two before it.
“That's kind of a hard one to judge. If in the process the economy looks like it's going to pick up then it would be better for people to jump in and propose something. Of course, we would hate for the process to have to start all over again. ... the sooner you can get something up the sooner you can get more income and jobs.
"But I think there would probably be an opportunity for others to come in. I don't think we would lose the opportunity altogether,” Hellard said. “We've been working too hard on this, we don't want to lose that,”
Wetta says the positive of the situation is the lottery is looking for a quick turnaround on the contract.
Deines says the review board has a timeline that starts over from the renegotiation of the contract – that would mean 60 days with the possibility of another 60 day extension to consider the contract.
“I don't think they want to take that full time, we'll just have to wait and see. I think there is a desire from everyone to figure it out pretty quickly,” Deines said.
Hellard says she hopes the contracts will be quickly negotiated and approved.
“I hope they can get it done and still hit that Dec. 27 deadline of when they were supposed to have everything done, but I think that's possibly unreal considering the holidays,” Hellard said.
Wellington Daily News