Pinnacle Ent. Kansas proposal draws official review

Aug 19, 2008 7:01 PM

Industry Insider by Ray Poirier | The good news for Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) was that the company’s proposal for a casino management contract in Kansas was supported by three Wyandotte County commissioners.

The bad news was that the endorsement from the commissioners may have violated state law that prohibits state and local officials from using their official positions to influence the selection process.

Kansas is in the middle of accepting proposals from gaming companies interested in managing the state’s four casinos, once these properties are built.

In Wyandotte County, three groups have made proposals for the contract, in addition to Pinnacle Entertainment.

Now that concerns have arisen about the Pinnacle Entertainment proposal the Racing and Gaming Commission said it plans to review the plan and its expressed support to determine whether an investigation is warranted.

"We are going to review it and then be in discussions with the attorney general’s office," said executive director Stephen Martino. "If I think there is enough there to warrant (further) investigation, I will send it to the attorney general."

Pinnacle’s presentation before the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board received the endorsement of Donald DeSeure, Bill Miller and Ann Brandau-Murguia, all county commissioners.

Officials said they have to determine whether the commissioners were speaking as elected officials or as private citizens.

Pinnacle officials insisted the commissioners were speaking as private citizens, although in the presentation a graphic under their names identified them as commissioners.

"As we told the review board and as it said in the presentation, the individuals were speaking as private citizens and expressing a personal opinion," said a Pinnacle spokesperson.