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Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board picks bid

Sep 23, 2008 7:00 PM

by Ray Poirier | With the defection of two major applicants, the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board Friday selected Kansas Speedway as the winning bidder for a gaming contract in Wyandotte County.

The partnership of Kansas Speedway and Baltimore, Maryland-based Cordish Co. offered a $705.6 million entertainment project to be completed in 2011.

Even without solid bids from Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. (PNK) and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), the two major gaming companies that had bowed out of the bidding, the final selection came down to a 4-3 vote.

Finishing runnerup was the bid from Golden Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas while a third applicant was Legends Sun, a group involving the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut.

Cordish plans to build a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino that will overlook turn two of the speedway. The property will house 3,000 slot machines, 140 gaming tables and 275,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and entertainment space. Construction is expected to begin next month and a temporary casino is expected to open by June, 2009.

The area around Kansas Speedway in western Wyandotte County has seen a boom in retail development in recent years. The track draws about one million visitors a year.

The three review board members who favored Golden Gaming’s proposal were disappointed because they said the loser would have produced more revenue for Kansas over the 15-year life of the contract.

Blake Sartini, founder and CEO of Golden Gaming, called the Speedway proposal "a great one" and said Golden Gaming would pursue opportunities elsewhere.

"We had a fair shot, and the fact that we got three votes substantiates our proposal," Sartini said, adding, "We’ve got a lot of opportunities."

Still to be decided is the successful applicant for the contract in Ford County. Bidders are Butler National Service Corp. and Dodge City Resort and Gaming. The decision is expected to be made later this week.