Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mashantucket Pequots May Bid On Kansas Casino

Feather News

The Mashantucket Pequot's Foxwoods Development Company may enter the bidding once again for a casino in Kansas. Bids are due tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Foxwoods partnered with MGM Mirage last year in the casino bidding for one of the four casinos permitted in Kansas but pulled out of the running before final selections were made.

The Mohegan Tribe, through one of its entities, also participated in a group bidding to build a casino near Kansas City but was not selected by the state. The Mohegans are not expected to re-enter the contest for a Kansas casino. Attempts to reach Tribal officials were unsuccessful.

Three of the four winning groups selected last Fall to build casinos in Kansas later pulled their names out of the contest, requiring the state of Kansas to start the bidding all over again. A 2007 state law paved the way for the development of four state-owned casinos in four separate Kansas zones.

Many of the groups selected to build and operate casinos in Kansas later pulled out cited the economy. For instance, Kansas Entertainment, which is a partnership between the speedway and Baltimore-based Cordish Co., was the winning group for the zone where the Mohegans had sought a casino but the group later withdrew its proposal. "Because of the equity markets and because of the economic meltdown in the United States, we decided the best strategy for entertainment properties, or for Kansas Entertainment, was to pull back the proposal and resubmit," an official said.

Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger arrived today in a NASCAR stock car to re-submit a new casino proposal to the Kansas Lottery Board. The new proposal, according to Boerger, is similar to the earlier version: a $700 million Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with 3,000 slot machines and a 300-room hotel.

The Mashantucket's group last year, which included MGM Mirage, Wichita's Chisholm Creek Ventures, and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, proposed a $425 million casino project in Sumner County.

Kansas is the only state that mandates that casinos will be state-owned. The state would receive at least 22 percent of the gambling revenue from the four proposed casinos.