Golden clears Kansas hurdle

November 27, 2007 4:41 AM
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Las Vegas-based Golden Gaming has cleared the first hurdle on its journey to receive an endorsement from the State of Kansas as Wyandotte County’s sole destination casino.

The Edwardsville Planning Commission unanimously approved Golden Gaming’s application last week. While the application was not flawless, according to city staff, Golden Gaming found approval from City Planner Dan Van Petten and the commission.

"Not all the aspects meet all the design issues at this time," Van Petten said. "(But) the plan appears to be workable and therefore should be approved to compete with the other applications for the state’s endorsement."

The Golden Gaming proposal, if approved by the full Edwardsville City Council, would compete head to head with any casino proposals endorsed by the Unified Government. Six plans — four of them endorsed by the UG Planning Commission — will shortly go before the UG full commission.

Blake Sartini, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Golden Gaming, said the company has committed its top management in securing the state’s endorsement.

"Many of our top executives have been involved in casinos," Sartini said. "We have tremendous experience for developing this project. We have committed our top management to make sure Wyandotte County, Edwardsville and the State of Kansas can be proud of our casino."

The casino proposal spans about 132,000 square feet overall and features 2,500 slots, 95 gaming tables, restaurants, a spa and salon, a shopping center, 300 hotel rooms and an 18-hole golf course. Golden Gaming is prepared to make an initial investment of about $600 million.

Sartini said the proposal would bring in four million annual visitors, with about half coming in from out of town. About 8,000 jobs would be created, and the proposal could bring in an estimated $300 million annually.

Tim Sweeten, a member of the planning commission, said Monday’s endorsement is a big step in the process.

"We still have a few hurdles left, but we have a leg up," Sweeten said. "We are definitely not the last guy in the room in this competition."

Because the proposal spans two cities, Golden Gaming will also be required to speak with the Bonner Springs Planning Commission. That meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27.