Three gaming groups will compete in round three for the right to build and manage Sumner County's casino, including Harrah's Entertainment, the winner of round one.
The Kansas Lottery received two bids for a casino at Mulvane's turnpike exit and one for a casino at Wellington's before Thursday's 2 p.m. deadline.
* Harrah's Sumner Investment Co. proposed a Harrah's Kansas casino for two alternate sites at Exit 33 near Mulvane.
Harrah's Entertainment and a partner, Equity Ventures of Topeka, won the bid to manage a state-owned and -operated casino in 2008 but later withdrew, citing economic conditions.
* Peninsula Gaming Partners of Dubuque, Iowa, which has casinos and racetracks in Iowa and Louisiana, applied to develop the Kansas Star Casino,
Hotel and Event Center at the Mulvane exit.
* Global Gaming of Ada, Okla., a subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, submitted an application for Exit 19 near Wellington. It didn't offer a name for its casino.
Global Gaming owns racetracks in Oklahoma and Texas.
The companies have until July 29 to submit their proposals to Sumner County. County commissioners will hear presentations at a public meeting Aug. 10 at the Raymond Frye Complex in Wellington.
Endorsements from local governments are required before applicants may sign contracts with the lottery.
Harrah's was the only bidder to offer details of its proposal. The company plans a Las Vegas-style casino, multiple restaurants, a 100-room boutique hotel, a sports bar, food court, retail space and up to 15,000 square feet of entertainment and meeting space, according to Jacqueline Peterson, Harrah's Entertainment spokeswoman.
Future amenities under consideration include a championship golf course, water park, RV park, spa, tennis facility, sporting clay facility and hotel expansion.
"Harrah's intends to deliver superior results for Sumner County and the State of Kansas, and this is the project that will deliver the best returns for the people of Kansas," Peterson wrote in an e-mail to The Eagle.
She didn't disclose how much Harrah's plans to invest in the project. State law requires a minimum investment of $225 million. Harrah's earlier proposal was for a $560 million casino and resort.
One of its proposed sites is on land that has been annexed by the city of Mulvane. The other is on unincorporated county land, according to the lottery.
On Wednesday, Moody's Investors Services cut its ratings on Harrah's, citing concerns that the company would default on its debt as gambling revenue declines. It also questioned the company's strategy to expand.
"Harrah's significant debt service burden leaves the company with insufficient free cash flow for maintenance of existing assets or growth initiatives," the report said.
Harrah's has said it recently completed a debt-for-equity deal with its sponsoring companies, Apollo Management and TPG Capital, as well as Paulson & Co., that will leave it with about $3 billion in liquidity.
It also has been growing. In the past year and a half, it opened 263,000 square feet of LEED-certified convention space and the $60 million Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis complex at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, completed a $500 million expansion of Harrah's Atlantic City and renovated the Dennis Tower in Bally's Atlantic City. It plans a retail and restaurant space, Sugar Factory, for its Paris Las Vegas property.
Global Gaming Solutions wouldn't give any details of its plans for Exit 19.
The company "is enthusiastic about potential opportunities that exist along the I-35 corridor near Wellington," Global Gaming Solutions spokeswoman Kym Koch Thompson wrote in an e-mail. He said it was premature to comment further.
The company and the Chickasaw Nation already have five properties along I-35 from Texas to north Oklahoma City.
They include Remington Park racetrack in Oklahoma City, the WinStar World Casino in Oklahoma near the Texas state line, the Riverwind Casino in Norman, Okla., and the Treasure Valley Casino in Davis, Okla.
Its other property along the corridor is the Lone Star Racetrack in Grand Prairie, Texas, but Global Gaming Solutions is waiting for the Texas Racing Commission to approve its license.
"We are confident our significant experience with the development of these other properties along the I-35 corridor will be valuable to the Kansas economy and businesses in Sumner County," Thompson said in the e-mail.
Global Gaming has experience living and working in rural communities, she said.
The company understands "the importance of promoting economic development in partnership with those communities" and will "focus on building strong relationships with the citizens and businesses in Wellington and its surrounding areas" if it is the winning bidder, Thompson said.
Peninsula Gaming owns and operates the Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, the Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino in St. Landry Parish, La; four off-track betting parlors in Louisiana; the Diamond Jo Casino in Worth County, Iowa; and the Amelia Belle Casino in Amelia, La.
Peninsula Gaming has formed a partnership with Equity Ventures in its Sumner County bid.
Peninsula Gaming's "stellar reputation for operating world-class facilities in areas very similar to this make them a wonderful development partner for Kansas," said Kathy Damron, spokeswoman for the company.
The lottery has 90 days, until Oct. 20, to negotiate contracts with the applicants. It will forward the contracts to the seven-member Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board for its consideration.
The review board will have 60 days to choose a winner and forward its choice to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission for approval.
The lottery re-opened bids in the south-central Kansas gaming zone after the developers for Chisholm Creek Casino withdrew an application for a $225 million casino at Exit 33 in April, citing concerns over potential competition from a Park City casino planned by the Wyandotte Tribe of Oklahoma.
The tribe is awaiting approval from the federal government for a land-in-trust application that has been pending for years.