No casino applicants for Southeast Kansas

The Kansas Lottery received no applications by a deadline of 5 p.m. last Wednesday for a 15-year contract to develop and run a casino in Cherokee or Crawford county. The deadline was automatically extended until April 21.

The faltering economy is a major reason nobody is eager to build and operate a state-owned casino in southeast Kansas, but the Kansas Lottery isn’t giving up. Ed Van Petten, the Lottery’s executive director, said tight credit and a decline in casino industry revenues help explain the lack of interest among potential developers.

The Lottery – which will own the actual gambling – can continue extending the deadline until somebody applies, he said. „I think eventually somebody can make it work, but people are going to want to at least see signs of the economy starting the turn around,“ Van Petten said.

Also affecting the southeast Kansas project is the proximity of an Oklahoma tribal casino so close to the state line that its parking lot is in Cherokee County, Van Petten said. He also cited the contract’s requirement for a minimum USD 225 million investment plus a USD 25 million privilege fee.

The Lottery is rebidding the contract because Penn National Gaming walked away in September from a contract to build a USD 225 million facility in Cherokee County. The Wyomissing, Pa.-based company said it couldn’t compete with the tribal casino.

Only one state-owned casino out of four authorized by a 2007 expanded gambling law is on its way to becoming a reality.