Topeka A partnership that includes Kansas Speedway still wants to build a state-owned casino in Wyandotte County, overlooking the track’s No. 2 turn.
Speedway President Jeff Boerger said Tuesday the application for a contract with the Kansas Lottery, which owns the gambling, will be submitted by the April 1 deadline.
“It’s a matter of timing: Submit it now or wait until April 1,” Boerger said. “If you submit it now, do you deter any other potential competitors? Or wait until April 1 and keep your cards close to your vest?”
In December, Kansas Entertainment, which includes the speedway and Baltimore-based Cordish Co., withdrew its application after it had been selected. It cited the economy for its decision and said it would resubmit its application. There hadn’t much comment from the speedway since then.
“We just had to make sure internally we were ready to move forward,” Boerger said.
Previously, five applicants were vying for the 15-year contract to build and operate the casino. Boerger said he expects others to apply.
The Lottery also set April 1 for the deadline for submitting applications in Sumner County, although no applications have been received. The new deadlines restart the lengthy process for deciding who gets to operate the casinos.
Last week, Equity Ventures of Topeka said it and an unnamed partner planned to submit two applications for Sumner County. Equity was a partner with Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which pulled out of Sumner County last year because of the economy.
Boerger said the Speedway application was reworked to allow for a phased-in development.
“The equity markets all melted down, and we wanted to phase it in, but the contract didn’t allow that,” he said. “We weren’t willing to take the risk.”
He said plans still call for a $680 million complex with construction starting first on the casino, which would have 3,000 slot machines and be done in 18 months. Next would come the 300-room hotel and convention center.
Boerger said the speedway and Cordish have sound financing for the project, which includes commitments to bring a second NASCAR Sprint Cup race to the track, build a road course for in its infield and have a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car race.
The Lottery can negotiate as many contracts as it wants and submit them to a state review board, which makes a recommendation to the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, which must give final approval.
A 2007 law created four state-owned casinos, one each in Ford, Sumner and Wyandotte counties and one in either Crawford or Cherokee counties.
The only casino project under way is Boot Hill Casino and Resort in Dodge City. Construction started in December on the $88 million facility operated by Olathe-based Butler National Service Corp. The casino will be open later this year, with a 124-room hotel and convention center to open by the end of 2011.