Carrie Rengers

Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel proposal includes developer George Laham

The same people who helped develop Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and the Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City want to build a $62 million casino, a rendering of which is shown, in southeast Kansas.
The same people who helped develop Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and the Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City want to build a $62 million casino, a rendering of which is shown, in southeast Kansas. Courtesy art

A group that includes the same people who helped develop the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane and the Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City now hopes to build a $62 million casino in southeast Kansas.

Kansas Crossing Casino filed an application with the Kansas Lottery on Thursday morning to build the Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel at the intersection of Highways 400 and 69 in Pittsburg.

The owners of Kansas Crossing Casino are some familiar faces in the greater Wichita area. They are:

▪ Bruce Christenson of Equity Ventures in Topeka, which developed the Derby Marketplace.

▪ Jonathan Swain, Natalie Schramm and Brent Stevens, who helped develop and manage the Kansas Star Casino until late 2012 when their Peninsula Gaming sold to Boyd Gaming Corp. They now operate under the name JNB Gaming.

▪ Wichita developer George Laham of Laham Development, which developed properties such as Bradley Fair, Regency Lakes and Plazzio.

Laham says he’s honored to be part of the Kansas Crossing group and says it’s an exciting project.

“We were approached by Bruce Christenson and his group,” Laham says. “After looking at the project and the people behind it, including the success that JNB Gaming and Bruce’s group had in Mulvane, we’re very excited for this project and for southeast Kansas.”

Laham says that JNB’s involvement is key.

“It’s a very important part of why we think this is a very viable deal,” he says. “They’ve got a track record.”

On Tuesday, the Pittsburg City Commission voted unanimously to endorse Kansas Crossing.

“Kansas Crossing’s team has the experience to develop and operate a casino property that is sustainable,” Christenson said in a statement. “It’s the right size for the market and will be a driving force for increased tourism in Southeast Kansas.”

The casino would include 525 slot machines ranging from penny to $25 bets. It would also feature table games such as poker, blackjack and craps.

There would be 100 new hotel rooms and a 125-seat restaurant called the Mining Co. to reflect the area’s history.

In addition, there would a 600-person entertainment center for national touring events, meetings and parties.

See more at www.KansasCrossingCasino.com.

If selected, developers estimate the casino would take about 10 months to finish.

The decision will be made by the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, a seven-member board appointed by the governor and legislative leaders.

Other casino proposals with Wichita ties are:

▪ The $147 million Castle Rock Casino Resort, which would sit on U.S. 400 in Cherokee County less than mile off the Oklahoma and Missouri borders. Wichitans Brandon and Rodney Steven, David Burk and Dave Wells along with other investors are behind that proposal.

▪ Wichitan Phil Ruffin, who owns Treasure Island in Las Vegas and numerous non-casino properties, is partnering with the Quapaw Tribe of northeastern Oklahoma to propose opening a smaller casino on the grounds of the former Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac, just north of Pittsburg, which he owns.

Southeast Kansas Casino Group, which apparently doesn’t have any Wichita ties, also has a proposal.

All proposals must be filed by 11 a.m. Friday.

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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