- Associated Press - Sunday, April 26, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - All three investor groups interested in developing a southeast Kansas casino have met the minimum financial and management requirements to move on in the selection process.

The Kansas Lottery Commission said Friday that each group met the standards necessary to be forwarded to a seven-member Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1EAjORB ).

The board is responsible for selecting the best strategy for what would be the fourth state-owned casino, with a decision expected as early as July.

Under a Kansas law adopted in 2007, four gaming zones were created for casinos, with only one casino allowed in each region. The state owns the casinos but they are managed by private companies responsible for developing the properties.

The casinos currently operate in Dodge City, Mulvane and Kansas City, Kansas.



The three proposals for a casino in southeast Kansas are:

- A group led by Las Vegas billionaire Phil Ruffin, who proposed a $78 million project to convert the former Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac to a casino that would feature 750 slot machines and a hotel.

- Castle Rock Casino Resort’s consortium, which plans a $140 million casino in Cherokee County north of Interstate 44 and U.S. Highway 400.

- A Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel group, which has proposed a $64 million project to be located at the junction of U.S. highways 400 and 69 south of Pittsburg.

The opening of a casino in northeast Oklahoma just across the state line weakened interest in the southeast Kansas zone until last year, when an amendment of the Kansas gambling law lowered investment thresholds.

Now, instead of being required to invest $225 million in infrastructure and paying a $25 million privilege fee to the state, potential casino operators in the southeast Kansas zone must offer an infrastructure package of at least $50 million and a privilege fee of $5.5 million.

The Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board has 60 days to select a winning casino applicant or send proposals back to the Kansas Lottery for further consideration. The Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission will complete a background investigation on the chosen applicant.

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Information from: The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, https://www.cjonline.com

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