Penn National endorsed for Kansas casino

Penn National Gaming received the endorsement of the Cherokee County Commission for its plan to manage a state-owned casino and hotel in the county.

“This now clears the way for Penn Gaming to move to the next level to the state,“ Commissioner Rodney Edmondson said.

Penn National was the only company to submit a proposal to the commissioners. Applications are due to the Kansas Lottery Commission by September 6.

Cherokee County voters on June 5 approved a referendum on the casino issue. State law providing for state-owned casinos in four areas of Kansas requires the host county’s endorsement of a prospective manager. Edmondson said he visited Penn National’s Argosy Casino in Riverside on Friday. That complex also includes a hotel. „I was quite impressed with the facility,“ Edmondson said. He said the visit convinced him that the company is capable of living up to its commitment in Cherokee County.

„Penn National is proposing a USD 250 million casino and hotel complex it plans to call Hollywood Casino-Cherokee County. It would be built on 80 hectares adjacent to Highway 166, about six-tenths of a mile from the Interstate 44 exit to Kansas. The location is about equal distance to Galena and Baxter Springs. The 34,838 sqm casino would include up to 1,500 electronic games and 40 table games.

The commissioners on Monday also approved a predevelopment agreement with Penn National. Penn National agreed to pay the cost of infrastructure work that is required and the cost of the June 5 special election. The company also would not ask for any property-tax breaks or revenue bonds under the agreement. State law also prevents the casino manager from receiving any tax breaks.