- Associated Press - Thursday, December 3, 2015

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Lottery has granted an extension to a planned state-owned casino for a second time due to a lawsuit filed by Cherokee County and another casino company that wanted the contract to build and run it.

The Joplin Globe (http://bit.ly/1PzDU3l ) reports that the lottery granted a 90-day extension to the Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel Wednesday. The casino was originally supposed to open in July 2016.

Cherokee County and casino company Castle Rock filed a lawsuit claiming that the decision by state regulators to award the casino contract to Kansas Crossing in Crawford County was arbitrary.

Kansas Crossing got the contract even though its $70 million proposal was dwarfed by Castle Rock’s plans for a $145 million development.

Houston developer Bruce Christenson, the lead investor in the project, said the delay is a frivolous legal action.

“Kansas Crossing stands ready to proceed with fulfilling its obligations under the contract once the pending litigation is successfully resolved.”

Crawford County Commissioner Carl Wood said it does not make sense for Kansas Crossing to go ahead and build the casino if a judge could potentially award the license to operate to another company.

“If you knew that there’s a slight chance they could rule against you and you’re left with a $70 million project and no license, what would you do?” Wood asked.

Jonathan Swain, of Bellevue, Iowa, one of the investors in Kansas Crossing, said he couldn’t comment on Kansas Crossing’s strategy in the lawsuit.

The Kansas Lottery says that it has the right to rescind the extension at any time if changes in the circumstances surrounding the casino change.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

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