Kansas' casino license decision makers forgot to 'follow the money'

Nov 25, 2008 4:59 PM

by Ray Poirier | Looks like the casino license decision makers in Kansas forgot to follow the money when they decided to award the contract to Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

There were two major bidders for the contract that would locate a casino in Sumner County. Harrah’s officials said they would spend more than $530 million to build a facility comparable to what was seen in Las Vegas. The other bidder, Penn National Gaming Inc. (PENN) offered a somewhat smaller facility.

The big numbers dazzled the Kansas Lottery Commission members but in making their selection they forgot to check the bidders’ bank accounts.

Last week, Harrah’s officials backed out of the deal when they failed to find financing for the construction. Penn National Gaming, reportedly awash in cash, said it would be premature to say whether it would be interested in negotiating a deal since the state said it would have to restart the bidding process.