Casino-choosing process extended

? A high-stakes game to get the right to open a lucrative casino operation in Wyandotte County could be decided by early fall.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has approved extending by 60 days – from March 28 until May 27 – the deadline for the Kansas Lottery to agree to contracts with prospective casino developers.

“This is a more complex process than anyone envisioned,” said Sally Lunsford, a lottery spokeswoman.

After that, the process for selecting a casino for Wyandotte County would go to the Lottery Gaming Facilities Review Board, which will have up to 60 days to pick a winner. That would put the selection deadline at July 28.

The review board could get a 60-day extension, which would mean a decision no later than Sept. 26.

The Kansas Expanded Lottery Act, passed in spring 2007, allows for four destination casinos in the state, including one in Wyandotte County.

There are six casino proposals for Wyandotte County, each offering thousands of slot machines, huge hotels and other attractions.

They include:

¢ Golden Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas. A $662 million complex split between the cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville.

¢ Kansas Entertainment LLC. A partnership between the Kansas Speedway and The Cordish Co. of Baltimore. The $610 million complex includes a casino overlooking a turn in the speedway.

¢ Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. of Las Vegas. A $649 million complex near the speedway.

¢ Legends Sun. The group is a partnership between Olympia Gaming of Las Vegas; the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut; and RED Development of Kansas City, Mo., and Scottsdale, Ariz. The complex would cost $770 million and be located near the speedway and Legends shopping center.

¢ Sands Kansas LLC. The company is offering two similar proposals of a $500 million complex. One proposal would be located near The Woodlands horse and dog racing track, and the other would be located near Edwardsville.