July 14, 2011

Lottery Commission approves Kansas Star Casino expansion plans

Plans for the Kansas Star Casino just got bigger.

Plans for the Kansas Star Casino just got bigger.

The Kansas Lottery Commission approved several changes this week that will affect the casino in all three construction phases. They include adding more space to the proposed gaming floor, hotel and RV park.

The Kansas Lottery welcomed the proposed additions, said Sally Lunsford, the Lottery's communications director. She said the stance of the casino's developer, Iowa-based Peninsula Gaming, seems to be: promise something and deliver more.

"I think they saw opportunities to enhance the project, and we're delighted that it's going to be even bigger and better than they had initially proposed," Lunsford said.

Construction has started on the first phase of the casino, located at the Mulvane exit of the Kansas Turnpike. An interim casino is scheduled to open in early 2012.

One of the enhancements expands the facility by 60,000 square feet, including a banquet room that opens in phase two and a concourse to provide more space for guests.

"We are substantially increasing the square footage of the building in the first phase of our project, which will provide an even better customer experience at our interim facility," said Kansas Star general manager Scott Cooper.

The facility will be 160,000 square feet.

The permanent casino is slated to open in 2013 as part of phase two. Once it opens, the temporary casino will become an events center.

The planned expansion to the initial building increases concert seating capacity from 4,200 to nearly 5,000. The enhancements also provide room for four additional dining outlets and a larger buffet restaurant.

The additions to phase two also include increasing the public areas of the hotel design by about 22,000 square feet and the gaming floor by 7,000 square feet. The added floor space does not include more gaming positions.

In the third phase of construction, the Kansas Star has planned to triple the size of its proposed RV park.

Plans for the final casino include 2,000 slots, 50 gaming tables, a 300-room hotel, the RV park, a gift shop, and an expanded equestrian/events/convention center. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

Peninsula initially estimated the facility would cost $260 million. Cooper said the cost to build the Kansas Star will increase with the larger square footage and increased scope, but he doesn't know the new total yet.

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