Archive for Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hollywood Casino Kansas Speedway opening could have impacts across the region

A rendering of the new Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway.

A rendering of the new Hollywood Casino at the Kansas Speedway.

February 2, 2012


It’s been a long time coming, and now the region will see if its newest attraction can live up to the hype.

The ribbon will be cut and doors will open for the first phase of the $411 million Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway just before noon today.

Bringing with it 1,000 jobs, the casino will have an estimated economic impact of $220 million, said Greg Kindle, president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council. The Unified Government this week reported that to date the project has infused close to $60 million into Wyandotte County’s design and construction industries.

“I think what it shows is the continued dynamic nature of the Wyandotte County economy and the opportunity for growth,” Kindle said, adding that the casino would be a “linchpin for ongoing development near the speedway and Village West.”

In Lawrence, a 30-minute drive from the casino, reaction to the casino opening is mixed.

Hank Booth, interim president and CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said he did not think the casino would do much to attract new visitors to Lawrence. But he also said he didn’t think the casino would significantly siphon off dollars from the Lawrence economy.

“I think anything that makes this part of the state more attractive to people who are thinking about living here or locating a business here is a good thing for Lawrence and the state as a whole,” Booth said. “Right now, a lot of the dollars spent on casinos are going over the state line. Keeping that money in Kansas will be good.”

But if the convenience of the new casino causes more Lawrence residents to take up gambling as a hobby, some social service providers fear there will be a larger need for gambling addiction treatment in Lawrence.

Duane Olberding, executive director of Professional Treatment Services LLC in Lawrence, said about 1 percent to 2 percent of people who gamble end up with addiction problems. He said he has no doubt that the new casino will attract new entrants into the gambling world.

“They’re making a big splash with their opening,” Olberding said.

But unlike treatment services available for drug and alcohol addictions, treatment services for gambling addictions may be less well-known. Joe Stiles, senior pastor at First Southern Baptist Church, said he knows where to refer people who need help for substance abuse problems, but he wasn’t sure what services existed for those with gambling problems in Lawrence.

DCCCA, one of the area’s leading providers of treatments services for drug and alcohol problems, does not have any counselors certified in treating gambling addictions.

Five-year project

The casino fervor began in 2007, when the state approved the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act allowing state-owned but privately operated casinos in Wyandotte County and three other areas of the state.

Two months later, 80 percent of Wyandotte County residents voted to approve a state-owned casino in the county. Bonner Springs, Edwardsville and Kansas City, Kan., also approved a revenue-sharing agreement: Of the 3 percent of gambling revenues set aside for local governments, 1.5 percent would go to the county, 0.75 percent to the city in which the casino was located and 0.75 percent split between the other two cities.

A flurry of proposals came before all three municipalities and the Kansas Lottery Commission, and the state extended the deadline to agree to contracts with prospective casino developers. It approved four proposals for Wyandotte County and in September 2008 selected the proposal from Kansas Entertainment LLC for a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino at the speedway.

But at the end of the year, the group withdrew its bid, citing the economy. In April 2009, three applicants came forward: the Hard Rock once again at the speedway, as well as Hollywood Casino near the Schlitterbahn Water Park and Golden Heartland Casino near the speedway in Edwardsville.

Golden Heartland dropped out, and then came another shake-up in September 2009: The Cordish Group, International Speedway Corp.’s partner in Kansas Entertainment LLC for the Hard Rock Casino, was bought out of the partnership by Penn National Gaming. Penn National dropped its application for the casino near Schlitterbahn, and the Kansas Entertainment proposal, now with Penn National’s Hollywood theme, was the sole remaining applicant for the Wyandotte County casino.

The state approved Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway at the end of 2009. Gaming and financial consultants hired to advise the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facilities Review Board estimated the casino would generate more than $203 million in gaming revenues in 2013.

Bob Sheldon, general manager of the casino, said Penn National agrees with this estimate, and they expect it to do as well as their other Kansas City property, the Argosy Casino.

“We anticipate that in comparison to Argosy, I believe we’ll be in the same ballpark as far as our revenues,” Sheldon said. “We’re similar-size facilities and have similar amenities.”

The casino project covered 245,000 square feet of construction, including the 95,000 square feet on the casino floor. The casino has 40 table games, plus 12 poker tables, meaning room for 2,000 gaming players, as well as 2,000 electronic machines and four restaurants.

Sheldon said work continues to find a hotel partner for the second phase of the development.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

The only good thing about this casino is it is owned by the state. If you have to gamble, please do it there as revenues might have a chance to help the taxpayers.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

Look at the horrible landlords that let their property fall apart. Look at the people who do nothing but complain and don't just get up and move to Arizona.

LogicMan 5 years, 11 months ago

"A casino in the swamp next to the SLT mirage with a poker training center at Haskel would have been the ticket."

Yes, and with a small hotel, and hospitality degree programs at Haskell. I wonder who suggested that some years back? :-)

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

Hey never underestimate the draw of a hippy combo candle shop and fish taco place which sometimes may not be open due to lack of babysitting services.

Olive Garden has no chance against no growth Lawrence locally owned shops.

gatekeeper 5 years, 11 months ago

I work in KC and a lot of my coworkers come to our downtown because of these terrible "hippy places". So many idiots that have no clue posting on here.

Alceste 5 years, 11 months ago

Oh boy!!! When is the casino gonna have Complimentary round trip bus service to get to the joint? Heck if Prairie Band can provide good bus service, so can's gotta be nicer than that place west of Topeka.....

TopJayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

That would be because there is no place west of Topeka...Casino wise. They are all north of Topeka.

kansanjayhawk 5 years, 11 months ago

A really sad day for Kansas as we expand gambling and hurt more families! It is really disappointing that the legislature did not ask for a state-wide vote on expanding casino gambling--as Sedgwick County--the home of Wichita ( our largest county) voted NO. It is very likely a state-wide vote would have been gone the same way. Also, the current law does not allow for a re-vote by citizens to undo this fiasco. How many lives have to be destroyed by this highly addictive behavior before we will come to our senses?

Jonathan Fox 5 years, 11 months ago

First off, Wichita is the largest single city in Kansas not in the largest county because multiple big cities reside within Johnson County.

Second, if you read the article. It is stated that only 1-2% of gamblers become addicted.

"Duane Olberding, executive director of Professional Treatment Services LLC in Lawrence, said about 1 percent to 2 percent of people who gamble end up with addiction problems."

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

1000 people have new jobs, but I suppose those jobs aren't green enough to win the approval of certain prolific posters on this award-winning website.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, that's a totally rational analogy. Congratulations.

sad_lawrencian 5 years, 11 months ago

The Wichita/Sedgwick County casino should have gone up in Wichita and not Mulvane. Sedgwick County voters were extremely myopic to vote that down. Now another county will be seeing the economic windfall, and Wichita will be left in the dust. They were wrong to vote down a casino that was eventually going to be built somewhere in the area. It might as well have been in their own freakin' city. This is part of the idiocy that caused me to leave.

Mike Ford 5 years, 11 months ago

for the racists on here....there was never a plan by anyone at Haskell to have a casino there. It's a government installation....not trust land. Legal Jurisdiction was extended to the LPD in 1966 on the Haskell campus. The Haskell campus was paid for with Indian monies from the tribal accounts held in escrow by the US Treasury Department. That area was Kaw and Shawnee until the 1820's to 1850's. The state got no money from the Four Tribes because the Republicans opposed Joan Finney and wouldn't compact with the tribes as required for Class III gaming. This state got no compact money because it threw a fit like some people on here. That KCK casino will keep KCK money in KCK from going to KCMO. The tribal casinos will still get US 75 traffic. The Dodge City Casino affects no tribes due to how far west it is. I'm waiting to see what effect Mulvane will have. Two miles south of Ark City there's the Tonkawa, Otoe-Missouria, Ponca, and Kaw casinos on trust land in front of the Chilocco Indian School. Beyond there to the east is a number of Osage Casinos and a couple of Cherokee and Creek casinos. The Iowas in Oklahoma have a casino between Ponca and Guthrie. If the Wyandottes get the land in trust near Park City there's another option. No one will go into Frontenac due to the Quapaw, Peoria, Ottawa, Miami, Modoc, Wyandotte, and Shawnee casinos 45 minutes south of there. That and the cut the state allows it's partner in peanuts and isn't worth the headache. Penn Gaming is partnered with either the Mohegans or Pequots if I'm not mistaken. I laugh at the hypocrite republicans who hated on any gaming even after Ronald Reagan signed the Indian Gaming Act into law in 1988 who now act to profit from a Democratic idea on the backs of tribes. How kansas of them.

labmonkey 5 years, 11 months ago

1) More people might read your posts if you used capitalization and punctuation.

2) More people might take your posts seriously if you didn't start off calling them racists.

3) Instead of spewing constant anger about things that will never happen, go out, better yourself and help to better your community.

Pastor_Bedtime 5 years, 11 months ago

There's a great drinking game! Every time Tuschie plays the race card or denigrates others as "dummies" or "dimwits" you drink.

uncleandyt 5 years, 11 months ago

The Mob's got our States. Some percentage of people beyond the 1 to 2, have blown huge amounts at our ever-sprouting casinos. Casinos are weapons of cash destruction. We're losing money right now by not being there! II hate it. I love it. I hate it. I love it. Have you ever stood outside the doors of a casino and watched the faces of the people exiting? More than 2% look extra sad. More than 60% have lost their money. win lose lose lose lose win lose lose lose win lose lose lose lose lose lose lose lose. So a thousand jobs are created to assist in the squandering of millions of dollars. God bless um...Erica

MarcoPogo 5 years, 11 months ago

So it's like watching people coming out of a movie theater.

MyOpinionCounts 5 years, 11 months ago

It's our money to do with as we see fit. I'm tired of do-gooders telling me what I should be or should not be doing with the money that I work hard for. If I want to save it, I will do so. If I want to go to the casino and spend it on that entertainment, it is no one's freaking business.

FrankDrebin 5 years, 11 months ago

To uncleandyt and the like-- Next time you go to the local movie theatre, bowling alley, or golf course, think twice before "blowing" your cash at these entertainment sites. Just lock yourself in your house and eating cheetos and watching your television...............oh wait, you have wasted your money on a tv!? How dare you.

labmonkey 5 years, 11 months ago

My big concern about this casino being put up is that it could go the way of the Woodlands. It would be nice if they had shows there like they do at the VooDoo lounge at Harrah's... be a quicker drive for me and I would more likely support Kansas than Missouri. And a kick-ass buffet would be cool, sometimes the best part about casinos. Doubt I will gamble much though... good God, most of the people in the casino look like they have one foot in the grave and by the time they finish, they wish the rest of their person was there also.

MyOpinionCounts 5 years, 11 months ago

I am sure they will have an awesome buffet. They are run by the same people that run Argosy and their buffet is excellent.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

I think unc is one of those stateist people who would like to government to more closely control us.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

It's not going to attract tourists. It's just going to be a syphon for nearby money, since anyone on the other side of the city can just go to the riverboats, as plenty of people have been doing already. You're just dividing Argosy patronage and not making a new industry.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 11 months ago

Really? Cabellas draws "tourists" from Nebraska and Iowa and that was before the track was built. You are missing how the casino fits into the total picture of attractions that are already there and the massive amount of land available for new buildings.

chootspa 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, I am missing how that fits into the total picture of people going into the area for other reasons needing a gambling hall in order to go there for the other reasons they were already going there. Iowa and Nebraska already have casinos.

Perhaps it's because I remember all the talk of tourism and industry that the riverboats didn't bring, and perhaps it's because what generally happens with local casinos is that people spend their money on gambling instead of movies or other entertainment, which are business currently part of the 'total picture of attractions in the area' and may not appreciate the decreased revenues.

But do enjoy the socialistic gambling hall. I'm sure it will be lovely.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 11 months ago

The riverboats are isolated in an area away from other activities. Also, if I remember right, they have odd rules about when people can come on and off the "boat." At this place, a family could come down for the weekend and stay at that water park hotel. They could hit the shops in the area, eat at various restaurants and enjoy a night at the casino all in one small area.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 11 months ago

That picture looks like some kind of church.

seriouscat 5 years, 11 months ago

Wow they must be friends with the Simons. Like ten stories on this in the last few days. The sad thing is that by the time the chickens come home to roost RE: casino capitalism, sad pathetic places like this will be the only type of job source left.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

selah 5 years, 11 months ago

Well hell, maybe now my mom will come visit me.

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