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Another developer proposes new casino near Downstream - KOAM TV 7

Another developer proposes new casino near Downstream

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The deadline for submitting proposals for a new Southeast Kansas casino is tomorrow, and the number of plans now before the state stands at four.  Kansas will approve only one of the competing proposals.  The latest is not only a casino, but also includes a hotel, a new lake, boathouse restaurant, and equestrian center.

People like Richard Greve believe not building a new casino in Southeast Kansas is too big of a gamble.

"Kansas might as well get the money.  Because I go out of town, in Oklahoma, and I play a lot of them.  But if they're in Kansas, I'll play them there," says Greve, who lives in Southeast Kansas.

The latest proposal is a $180,700,000 investment from SE Kansas Casino Partners, LLC.  It's a casino resort that developers hope to build near Downstream Casino.

The proposed casino's developer says about 71 million dollars in gross revenues would come from the resort in its third year of use.  There would be about two million dollars in local gaming tax revenue.

"Real property tax that is assessed by the schools, instead of going to the school district that it's in, it would be divided equally between the four school districts:  Columbus, Baxter Springs, Riverton, and Galena.  As opposed to just one school district getting it all," says Cherokee County Commissioner Richard Hilderbrand.

Another developer wants to build a casino almost in the same area.

"I think there at 400 and 69 (highways) would be a good place," says Greve.

Cherokee County commissioners agree, endorsing both casino proposals in this area over two other casino proposals in Crawford County.

"Feasibility studies all say that the traffic count up there (400 and 69 highways) can support a 140 million dollar casino.  Where the traffic count up north (Crawford County) is quite a bit lower.  Both of those casinos are only around 50 or 60 some million," says Hilderbrand.

Hilderbrand says this latest casino proposal includes an entertainment  center built in phase one of construction, which may be an attraction sooner rather than later.  The other casino proposal in Cherokee County does not include an entertainment center in phase one of construction.

Again, the deadline for developers to submit their proposals to the State of Kansas is tomorrow (Friday).  The Kansas Lottery Commission will then have 60 days to choose who gets a new casino license, and then 90 days after that to ensure the company would be able to run a casino.

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