- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

COLUMBUS, Kan. (AP) - Cherokee County commissioners have decided to appeal a Shawnee County judge’s decision that upheld how Kansas awarded a license for a state casino being built in Crawford County.

Commissioners voted 2-1 on Monday to authorize spending up to $20,000 in legal bills on the appeal, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1MVz6VL ) reports.

“There were some items that didn’t get in for the judge to hear,” Commissioner Pat Collins said.

Commissioner Charles Napier gave the dissenting vote.

“To me it was a waste of money for the county,” Napier said. “I’m not much for gambling either.”

In a March decision, Judge Larry Hendricks denied petitions for judicial review that sought to restart the casino selection steps.

Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel, a $70.2 million project, is expected to open in Crawford County next March. Casino officials have said it would create more than 300 jobs. More than 350 jobs are expected during the construction of the building.

Bruce Christenson, a Houston developer and the lead investor in the Crawford County casino, said that the appeal was pointless.

“It’s really time for Southeast Kansas to come together and get behind this project,” Christenson said.

A competing proposal for the $145 million Castle Rock casino was more than twice the size of the Kansas Crossing casino. Kansas Crossing is expected to have 625 slot machines and 16 gaming tables, while attracting an estimated 500,000 visitors each year. Castle Rock would’ve had 1,400 slot machines, 35 table games and a 16-table poker room. It was predicted to draw a million or more visits a year.

Collins and Commissioner Robert Myers continue to support a proposal for Castle Rock Casino Resort.

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

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