- Associated Press - Thursday, October 30, 2014

PITTSBURG, Kan. (AP) - Odds for southeast Kansas getting a casino have improved after a second developer expressed interest in the project and a Pittsburg city commission approved early procedural steps.

Southeast Kansas Casino Group said this week it was interested in developing a casino, hotel and restaurant on 200 acres of privately owned land southeast of Pittsburg, although the group has not yet submitted an application to the state, The Joplin Globe reported (https://bit.ly/1wfoIgo ). The Pittsburg City Commission approved a petition Tuesday night from the landowners and a resolution of intent for the development.

The principals of Southeast Kansas Group are Bruce Christenson and Nancy Seitz, who were involved in the opening of Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City.

The second proposal in the area came earlier this year when Wichita billionaire developer Phil Ruffin and the Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino in nearby Oklahoma said they want to build a casino, restaurant and event center in the former Camptown Greyhound Park near Frontenac.

Pittsburg Mayor Monica Murnan said the Southeast Kansas Casino Group wanted the private land south of Pittsburg annexed by the city so the development would have city services, including water, sewer and fire protection.

“It’s very favorable for us, because this gives us two in the game,” Pittsburg City Manager Daron Hall said. “If it’s in the city of Pittsburg, then we’ll get sales tax for the city, of course room taxes, and we’d sell them water, which we have a lot of and we like to let people know that.”

The Crawford County Commission has 30 days to respond to the city’s resolution of intent. If the county approves, the city commission would consider an ordinance granting annexation at its next meeting.

Alan Mauk, a spokesman for the Quapaw Tribe, declined to discuss the possible impact another application might have on the tribe’s chances but said he is confident Ruffin and Downstream will meet the deadline for submitting the application.

After the deadline, the state lottery commission will have 90 days to approve or deny applications. A seven-member review board will make the final selection.

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

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