Judge's ruling clears way for Kansas casino construction

Apr 4, 2016 10:38 AM

Developers say a judge’s ruling last week clears the way for construction to begin on a $70 million casino project in southeast Kansas that should be ready for business in a year.

Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel, to be built south of Pittsburg in Crawford County, was the least expensive of three proposals for the final state-owned casino allowed under Kansas law.

The project, including a casino and 120-room hotel, has been held up by a lawsuit filed by Cherokee County and investors in Castle Rock Casino that claimed the Kansas Gaming Facility Review Board didn’t follow state law when it chose Kansas Crossing over the much larger Castle Rock project.

That proposal called for a $145 million casino in Cherokee County, with 1,400 slot machines, 35 table games and a 16-table poker room.

Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks on Thursday rejected Castle Rock’s argument that it should have been chosen because it was the largest of the three options.

Jonathan Swain, chief operating officer for Kansas Crossing, said Friday that the judge’s decision means construction can begin, regardless of appeals, the Pittsburg Morning Sun reported (http://bit.ly/1W3GwZ5 ).

Castle Rock attorney Russell Jones said an appeal was likely. But Cherokee County Commissioner Charles Napier said that while he could not speak for the rest of the commission, as far as he was concerned this was the end of the line for the challenge.

Swain said he expects Kansas Crossing to be open within a year.

A percentage of revenues will be paid to the city of Pittsburg, Crawford County and other entities.

The southeast Kansas casino is the last of four nontribal casinos allowed under a 2007 Kansas law, alongside casinos in Dodge City, south of Wichita and in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas Lottery owns the casinos and the state receives at least 22 percent of the profits.

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