- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Gambling revenues at a southern Kansas casino continue to lag a year ago, but casino officials insist the numbers remain strong and will improve after a hotel expansion and other new amenities.

In its June report to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, the Kansas Star Casino reported revenue from the slot machines and table games of about $167 million so far this year, down from $176.3 million at this time last year.

That means the state has taken in about $2.1 million less in taxes from the casino south of Wichita than it did a year ago, to $36.7 million from $38.8 million, The Wichita Eagle reported (https://bit.ly/1mXrEW5 ).

Scott Cooper, general manager of the Kansas Star, said a drop-off was expected after revenues peaked after the new casino opened and then tailed off. A sluggish economy also has hurt casinos nationwide, he said.

“I think they’re solid numbers by most measures,” Cooper said. “They are less than what we’ve been running, and I think our business has leveled off. I think there’s a whole bunch of factors there.”

In addition to revenues that have fallen steadily from their 2013 levels, the number of visitors also has declined. In January, the casino had 4 percent fewer visitors than it did in January 2013. After that the patron numbers fell between 10 percent and 19 percent in month-to-month, year-ago comparisons.

An expansion that doubled the number of rooms in the casino’s hotel from 150 to 300 will open later this month, Cooper said. A new convention and meeting center and an adjacent equestrian center are under construction and scheduled to open near the end of the year, he said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com


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