Scott Cooper didn’t expect to get much sleep last night. He was cramming for the gaming equivalent of a final exam.
The general manager of the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane was prepping for about 3,000 people who accepted invitations to attend what’s called a “controlled demonstration” at the casino Friday. It’s essentially a day for the casino to prove to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission that it’s ready to open.
The casino must ace the test to open the day after Christmas.
Real money will exchange hands, but eventually, it will end up in the hands of charities.
The demonstration will be 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and benefit several nonprofit groups. The guest list includes people who have applied for the casino’s players club, folks from the charities and early and steadfast supporters of bringing gambling to Sedgwick County. The commission OK’d the guest list.
Don’t try to crash the party, because you won’t get in.
“It’s a very exciting time for us,” Cooper said Thursday during a short break. “We expect the day to be a good day. We’re optimistic that we’re ready to have the regulatory agency evaluate us.”
About 25 to 30 staff members from the commission will be on hand Friday to watch as people christen the Vegas-style slot machines and gaming tables. They’ll be making sure that all state rules are followed, said commission spokesman Bill Miskell.
“What our staff will be doing is observing the employees of the Kansas Star Casino and how they operate every aspect of that casino while the casino is operating with people from the public in what would be a normal course of operation,” Miskell said.
They’ll watch how staff interact with gamblers and make sure games flow as they should.
“When the dice roll, they’ll make sure that the game is played properly,” Miskell said.
A full crew – about 400 people – will work today at the demonstration, Cooper said.
Commission staff won’t gamble. They won’t go in undercover; they’ll wear badges showing that they work for the state.
They’ll remain in Mulvane throughout the weekend and into next week, Miskell said.
“Our staff will have to get together and go through what it is that they saw prior to the time final decisions are made concerning the final order of certification,” he said.
If necessary, a second controlled demonstration is scheduled for Dec. 20.
Guests on Friday can try their luck at 1,310 slot machines, throw chips at a poker table and eat at all three of the casino’s restaurants.
Carrie Tedore, corporate director of public relations for Peninsula Gaming, said the casino had no idea what to expect about how much money would be wagered. All proceeds will go to the Kansas Food Bank Warehouse, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Mid-Kansas Affiliate, Music Theatre of Wichita, Operation Freedom Memorial and Dress for Success Wichita.
The casino thought hard about which charities to support: Music Theatre because the casino wants to support the arts, Dress for Success because it wants to help women get back to work, Tedore said.