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Kansas Officials Endorse $240M Casino Proposals After Groups Add Hotels

By Fred Mann, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

May 11, 2009--Sumner County commissioners endorsed plans by two of three casino groups today, after the groups proposed adding a hotel to the first phase of their developments.

For the first time, commissioners endorsed two proposals for the Mulvane exit of the Kansas Turnpike. They also endorsed the only proposal for Wellington.

Commissioners endorsed both proposals by Lakes Entertainment, of Minnesota. The company has proposed a $240 million facility for either the Wellington or Mulvane turnpike exit.

They also endorsed the $225 million project proposed by Foxwoods Development, of St. Louis, for the Mulvane exit.

Both groups came back to the county last week after their initial presentations and offered to add a hotel in the first phase, said Garey Martin, commission chairman.

Commissioners had questioned all three companies last Tuesday about whether a casino without a hotel was a destination casino, as called for in state law.

Commissioners did not endorse proposals for two Mulvane sites by South Central Gaming Partners, consisting of former Mandalay Resort Group executives and members of the Topeka-based development company Equity Ventures. That group had offered a $225 million casino for one of two alternate locations, including the Mulvane exit and just east of the exit at the corner of Hydraulic and K-53.

Under state law, endorsements from local government bodies are required for prospective casino managers to sign contracts with the Kansas Lottery, which will own the casinos.

Contracts are due to be signed by June 30.

Once they are signed, a casino review board will have until Sept. 1 to pick the contract it thinks is best for the state.

South Central Gaming Partners is seeking Mulvane's endorsement for a third potential site in that city.

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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) 2009, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.

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