Kansas Lottery Commission hires consultant to review casino contracts

? The Kansas Lottery Commission took another step Wednesday toward making resort casinos a reality when it hired a consultant to help write and negotiate contracts with the 13 applicants to manage the four facilities.

The commission unanimously agreed to hire Richard Schuetz, of Laguna Beach, Calif., and pay him $90,000 for the first 90 days. His fee could be up to $120,000 if he works an additional 60 days.

“We really don’t have a background in casino-type gambling. To do it right, we wanted to get a consultant on board with that background, and Mr. Schuetz will fill the bill,” said Ed Van Petten, the Kansas Lottery’s executive director.

Schuetz has three decades of experience in the gambling industry, including top positions at five casinos in Las Vegas and one in Minneapolis, Minn. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Houston, and holds graduate degrees in economics and finance.

“I have been around the business a lot and will be a good conduit with people who haven’t had the experience. I think they just want some experienced hands on their side,” said Schuetz, who started out dealing blackjack in Reno while in college.

Van Petten said Schuetz will help the Kansas Lottery evaluate the contracts and help negotiate them.

The Lottery has until the end of March to complete negotiations with the 13 applicants, although Gov. Kathleen Sebelius could extend the deadline. Van Petten said he thinks the negotiations can be completed without asking for more time.

It can reach agreements on as many contracts as it wants and forward them to the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which makes the final selection of casino developers in each zone.