August 25, 2008 –
MAYETTA: The Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board voted 4-3 last Friday to select Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. as developers of a state-owned casino in Mulvane in SumnerCounty.
The vote came on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) on August 19. The PBPN claim that Harrah’s broke a non-compete agreement that they made when the tribe took over managing their own casino last year. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 29 in Shawnee County District Court where lawyers for the PBPN will argue why Harrah’s should not be allowed to move forward.
Gaming groups who competed for the contract in Sumner County included Marvel Gaming Inc. and Penn National Gaming. Penn National was also awarded the contract for a casino in nearby Cherokee County by a vote of 5-2 and was the sole bidder. Both casinos will be included in the south-central gaming zone of the state which leaves two other state-owned casino developers to be selected by the lottery board on September 18-19. Those casinos will be located in Wyandotte (northeast) and Ford (west) Counties.
Matt All, chairman of the lottery board, reported that Harrah’s was selected because the board felt that Harrah’s had the best amenities and biggest revenue potential for the state. Background checks will now be administered by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission which is expected to take a couple of months and, in addition, Harrah’s will also have to answer to two other lawsuits pending over their development bid that are coming from officials in Sumner County.
In response to the Prairie Band lawsuit, Harrah’s executives stated during the review process that they believed they were in compliance with the non-compete agreement.