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In Wichita, Three Casino/Hotel  Developers Wait to See
 Whether to Scrap Plans or Promote Them
y Fred Mann, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Jul. 25, 2007 - As the Aug. 7 expanded gambling referendum nears for voters in Sedgwick County, potential casino developers are waiting to see whether they will have to scrap their plans or promote them.

If voters reject expanded gambling for Sedgwick County, a casino is likely to be built in Sumner County, which passed a gambling referendum in 2005.

Three proposals have become prominent, but with millions of dollars at stake, more plans could be on the way.

Under the state's new gambling law, a seven-member board to be appointed by the governor, Senate president and House speaker will select the winning proposal.

The board is to choose the proposal it thinks will maximize revenue, encourage tourism and serve the best interests of Kansas.

Here are the three primary proposals for Sedgwick County:

Chisholm Creek-Foxwoods-Iowa Tribe

Developer: Chisholm Creek Ventures of Wichita, Foxwoods Development Co. of Connecticut, and the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska

Location: 77th North and I-135 in Park City. (Also considering Kansas Coliseum site, and a site in Sumner County if voters in Sedgwick County do not approve the referendum.)

Cost: $300 million

Size: 60 acres, 1.2 million gross square feet

Features: 260,000-square-foot casino, 300-room hotel, buffet, restaurants, bars, theater, water park, spas, event center, convention facility

Economic impact: Developer has projected $250 million annually, $55 million to the state, as well as 1,500 immediate jobs and 2,500 permanent jobs.

Casinos owned: The Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska owns the White Cloud Casino on its reservation in northeast Kansas.

Foxwoods Development Co. has Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., which is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation.

Phil Ruffin

Developer: Phil Ruffin

(The state's new gambling law prohibits the Wichita Greyhound Park owner from also operating a casino in the same gambling zone, but a determination hasn't been made on whether he can have a minority interest in one. Ruffin has said he would join with friend Donald Trump on the project.)

Location: Douglas and McLean in Delano

Cost: $300 million

Size: 5 acres

Features: Casino, 500-room hotel, entertainment venue, banquet facilities, restaurants, buffet

Economic impact: Ruffin will hire a Las Vegas firm, Spectrum, to make a study of potential impacts if the Aug. 7 vote passes.

Casinos owned: Ruffin owns Wichita Greyhound Park, the New Frontier Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and is a partner with Trump in two luxury condo towers there.

Hamm-Nova Growth

Developer: Brian L. Hamm, Nova Growth Corp. of Toronto, Ontario

Location: Undetermined downtown Wichita location.

This developer originally planned a casino for Century II, but dropped the idea.

Cost: $300 million

Size: 100,000-square-foot casino with 250,000 additional square feet for amenities.

Features: 400-room hotel, exhibition and performance space

Economic impact: Hamm cited a 2004 report by Christian Capital Advisors of Maine. It said a Wichita casino would generate $191 milllion to $193 million under a variety of scenarios.

Casinos owned: None. Hamm has been pursuing in court a claim to an ownership interest in the Niagara Falls Casino Gateway Project in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

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To see more of The Wichita Eagle, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.kansas.com.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.

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