- Associated Press - Saturday, March 7, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - One of the four applicants seeking to build a casino in southeast Kansas with the state’s last remaining casino license has dropped its bid.

The Kansas Lottery said in a news release Friday that SE Kansas Casino Partners LLC is withdrawing its application. Its proposal for a $140 million facility called for a casino to be built on 123 acres along U.S. 400, along with hotels, an equestrian center, a concert venue, restaurants, a lake and retail shops.

A letter dated Thursday from a SE Kansas Casino Partners representative said the company was unable to move forward, citing “the remaining time available” and the company’s “ongoing due diligence.”

Kansas has three privately built, state-owned casinos developed under a 2007 law that provided for casinos in four specific regions, three of which have been built: the Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kansas.

But developers have shied away from the southeast Kansas license in part because of competition from the Quapaw Tribe’s Downstream Casino Resort in Oklahoma that opened near the state line in 2008. In a move to spur interest, lawmakers reduced the investment required of prospective casino developers to build there from $250 million to $50 million.

The SE Kansas Casino Partners’ project was the second costliest behind a $145 million proposal for Castle Rock Casino Resort in Cherokee County, which would be built less than a mile north of Interstate 44 and U.S. 400. The plan calls for a casino, hotel and restaurant, with the potential for an entertainment arena to be added in the future.

The state also has received a proposal for a $110 million project from Emerald City Casino Resort, which would be built on the site of the former Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac, north of Pittsburg. The casino would be run by a partnership of Phil Ruffin, owner of Wichita Greyhound Park, and Downstream Casino Resort.

The most modest of the four proposals is a $62 million facility, Kansas Crossing Casino, which would be built south of Pittsburg on land annexed into the city late last year. It would include a casino, restaurant, hotel and event center.

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