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Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

Harrah’s drops bid for casino south of Wichita

September 9, 2010

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— Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. on Wednesday dropped its proposal to build a casino south of Wichita, leaving two smaller regional companies to compete for a contract with the Kansas Lottery.

The Las Vegas-based gambling company didn’t say why it withdrew its proposal to build a $260 million complex, including a 100-room hotel, near Mulvane. Trevor Busche, Harrah’s vice president for development, said only that the decision came after “careful consideration.”

The announcement came about a month after the company posted a $274 million loss for the second quarter of this year. Harrah’s also reported that at the end of March, it was carrying more than $22 billion debt, though none of it was due before 2015.

“There wasn’t one factor in play,” company spokeswoman Jacqueline Peterson said. “The decision was based on many data points.”

Harrah’s withdrew its plan on the same day that the Kansas Lottery Commission reviewed proposals for the new casino in south-central Kansas.

The commission endorsed the two remaining proposals. One is from a subsidiary of Dubuque, Iowa-based Peninsula Gaming, and the other from a subsidiary of Ada, Okla.-based Global Gaming Solutions, which is owned by the Chickasaw Nation.

Proposals endorsed by the commission will to be forwarded to a state review board to determine which developer builds and manages the casino. Peninsula’s plan also must be approved by local zoning officials.

“We would like to send as many qualified applicants as we could, sure, but I think we have two very qualified applicants here,” said Ed Van Petten, the lottery’s executive director.

Under a 2007 state law, the lottery will own the rights to the new gambling and the equipment, down to the cards and dice, and the state will claim 22 percent of the revenues.

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