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Vote on KCK casino proposals delayed

After enduring more than five hours of debate Thursday night, Wyandotte County’s governing body decided to delay a vote on endorsing two casino proposals.

Just minutes before midnight, the Unified Board of Commissioners voted 6-4 to schedule a vote on the endorsements for the two casino proposals in western Kansas City, Kan.

Commissioner Mark Holland said he wanted more time to think through the issue.

“This is the biggest development we’re going to vote on in a long time, so I want to get it right,” he said.

At issue are proposals for a $387 million casino next to Kansas Speedway and a $320 million casino and hotel next to Schlitterbahn Vacation Village.

Each proposal promises to deliver roughly $14 million a year in property tax, sales tax and gaming revenues to Wyandotte County. The state would receive more than $44 million.

Kansas Entertainment LLC, a partnership between Kansas Speedway and the Baltimore-based Cordish Co., wants to build a casino on the track’s second turn. Its proposal calls for 2,300 slot machines, 86 table games, a classic-rock lounge and some restaurants.

The proposal comes with a promise to go after a second NASCAR Sprint Cup race. If Kansas Speedway can’t deliver that race, it would give $5 million each to the state and the Unified Government. The developers are also pledging to increase the cut in gaming revenues the county would receive.

The second proposal comes from Penn Hollywood Kansas LLC, a subsidiary of Penn National Gaming Inc. of Wyomissing, Pa., and owner of the Argosy in Riverside. The $320 million casino and hotel would be located next to the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, now under construction at Interstate 435 and Parallel Parkway. In its first phase, the casino would deliver 1,500 slot machines, 58 table games, a 250-room hotel, restaurants and lounges.

The two proposals were the result of the Kansas Lottery Commission’s decision to re-open the casino selection process nearly six months ago. The decision came after Kansas Entertainment, after it had been selected to build a $705 million casino, withdrew its proposal in light of the poor economy.

The scaled-back proposal it submitted also comes with scaled-back revenues. Its first proposal would have delivered an estimated $31 million a year to the local coffers.

The Kansas Lottery Commission is scheduled to consider approving contracts for the two new proposals on June 17.

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