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State will accept bids for southeast Kansas casino in July

Kansas may finally get a fourth state-owned casino as intended when the state passed its expanding gambling law seven years ago.

The process of bidding on a casino in the southeast gaming zone, which includes Crawford and Cherokee counties, will get under way next month.

The Kansas Lottery will begin receiving applications at 8 a.m. on July 14. The deadline for applications is 1 p.m. Dec. 19. Contracts with investors who apply and meet state standards will be signed by the Lottery. A review board to be selected by state political leaders will choose the winning application.

The state established four "gaming zones" when casino gambling was legalized in 2007. Casinos in three of the zones are up and running, including the Boot Hill Casino in Dodge City, the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and the Hollywood Casino in northeast Kansas.

Bidding in the southeast zone fizzled. Groups from Wichita and out of state showed interest during the original bidding process in 2008. But efforts ultimately failed when investors bailed out during the recession because of the required $225 million initial investment and $25 million privilege fee. No bids have been received since then.

The 2014 Legislature amended the law to reduce those investments to $50 million and $5.5 million in that zone. Those provisions take effect July 1.

Instructions on how to request an application form are expected to be posted on the Kansas Lottery’s website, www.kslottery.com, starting July 1.

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