WICHITA — Harrah's has once again decided it does not want to build a casino in Sumner County.
Harrah's Sumner Investment Co. had proposed a $260 million casino at two potential sites near Exit 33 on the Kansas Turnpike near Mulvane.
"They considered the totality of the circumstances and decided they would not be pursuing this opportunity," Keith Kocher, the lottery's gaming facilities director, said this afternoon at a meeting where Harrah's and the two other applicants were to present their plans.
Mulvane City Administrator Kent Hixson said the company's local attorney, Kyle Steadman, walked into city offices at 11 a.m. to announce the withdrawal.
"I didn't ask why," Hixson said. "After three years of working on this issue, they don't need to tell me why."
A statement from Trevor Busche, vice president of development for Harrah's, didn't shed much light on the decision.
"After careful consideration and discussion with the Kansas Lottery Commission, Harrah's has decided to withdraw its application," Busche said this afternoon.
Hixson said the size of the proposed project makes any decision to proceed tenuous.
"That's a lot of money," he said. "You want to be darn sure that you know what you're doing.
"We have no hard feelings toward Harrah's. They're a good group. ... We have quality proposals still on the table and we'll continue on."
Harrah's was one of three applicants scheduled to present proposals to the Kansas Lottery Commission this afternoon. The company was scheduled to seek an endorsement from the Mulvane City Council tonight.
Harrah's Entertainment and a partner, Equity Ventures of Topeka, won the bid to manage a Sumner County casino in 2008 but later withdrew, citing economic conditions.
Harrah's officials assured county officials in early August that the company had money to finance the casino itself this time around.
"We're prepared to stand behind the project, and the balance sheet can support it," Busche said at a presentation in Sumner County.
"We're back for a second time because we really believe in this market. We wouldn't be back if we didn't intend to follow through."