Sumner County casino facing new delay

MULVANE — Sumner County's casino project may face another delay.

Chisholm Creek Casino Resort developers plan to ask for more time before the state's casino review board votes on the project.

The board is scheduled to vote Tuesday in Topeka after reviewing the project with consultants and developers.

But Richard Bienapfl, vice president of development for Lakes Entertainment, said this morning that the developers will ask for an extension. They are concerned about "confusion" in the Kansas Legislature over gambling bills and a state-wide smoking ban, he said.

Lakes Entertainment would build and manage the casino.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would increase the amount of revenue from slot machines that owners of racetracks in northeast and southeast Kansas could keep.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee sent the bill to the Senate floor two weeks ago.

It would allow track operators a greater share of revenue from up to 1,200 slots at two tracks that are now closed: Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac, just outside Pittsburg, and the Woodlands dog and horse tracks in Kansas City.

The committee removed a provision allowing a public revote on slots in Sedgwick County, where voters rejected slots for Wichita Greyhound Park. But Bienapfl said lawmakers still could put Wichita's track back into the bill.

"It's kind of a fluid situation," he said.

"That confusion being thrown in there makes it very difficult. It scares away anybody who wants to put money in the project."

The bill wouldn't be considered until lawmakers return from their break April 28.

Bienapfl said he didn't know how long an extension developers would request from the review board. They might want to wait for the end of the current legislative session.

The session could end about two weeks after lawmakers return to Topeka, or by the last week in May.

Bienapfl said that if slots were to go in at the Wichita dog track, there's no way Chisholm Creek — which is planned for the Mulvane exit off the Kansas Turnpike — would be successful.

Bienapfl said developers are concerned to a lesser extent about the new state-wide smoking ban passed last month, even though it exempts casinos.

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