Kansas Casino Issues Heading to the Supreme Court

by Jim Hall

Proposed Site of Castle Rock CasinoCastle Rock Casino investors and Cherokee County now take their issue with the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission to the Supreme Court.

Castle Rock Casino and Cherokee County are not happy with the decision of the state of Kansas to give a casino contract to Kansas Crossing. The venue is the smallest of three proposals and both investors of the Castle Rock casino and Cherokee County are taking their fight to the State Supreme Court.

The Kansas Supreme Court is set to hear the appeal by the Castle Rock venue as oral arguments will take place beginning on the 25th of January. The casino and county feel the decision by the state to provide a casino contract to the Kansas Crossing group was the wrong one.

A Little Background

The proposal by Castle Rock was more than two times the size of the proposal by Kansas Crossing and was expected to bring in as many as 1 million visitors each year, most of which would come from outside of Kansas. The proposal by Castle Rock was estimated to more than double the expectations that would come about from the proposal by Kansas Crossing.

Castle Rock’s proposal was a $145 million project and would have been located on United States 400 near Interstate 44. This is a Cherokee County location. Despite the size and projections, Castle Rock lost based on an independent review that cast doubt on the ability of Castle Rock to meet the debt service as well as remain a viable property on a long-term basis.

Castle Rock feels that the state acted ‘arbitrarily, capriciously and otherwise unreasonably when they selected Kansas Crossing over Castle Rock.’ An attorney for Castle Rock, Russell Jones, stated that the appeal within the state Supreme Court is an opportunity for the group to put evidence in place to show that the decision should be reversed in their favor. Jones stated that Castle Rock is looking forward to an opportunity to have a fair hearing. Castle Rock hopes to see the decision by Hendricks’ reversed and the license granted to Castle Rock.

Kansas Crossing’s Side

Garion Masterson is the spokesman for Kansas Crossing who stated that the venue welcomes the decision by the state Supreme Court to take cognizance of the case and hope they will have a speedy resolution. The Kansas Crossing venue is set to be finished by June however, lawsuits have delayed construction.

Kansas Crossing was granted an extension which delayed the opening until the 31st of March. Masterson stated that Kansas Crossing is hoping that the matter will be solved by the end of this month. He stated that he thinks they will get a conclusion to the lawsuit that they felt never had merit and be able to start generating revenues for counties as well as the state.

What Will the Outcome Be?

Of course, both sides feel that they are in the right. Kansas Crossing is looking at the situation as they provided a proposal to the state and they were approved, giving them legal right to build and operate casino gaming entertainment. For Castle Rock, they feel they were not treated fairly in the decision making process as they were offering what they feel is a better proposal with a better outcome than Kansas Crossing. However, officials of the state felt that Castle Rock would not be able to meet certain requirements yet Kansas Crossing could.

It will be interesting to see how the appeal plays out in the State Supreme Court. If Castle Rock were to fail, they would have the option to appeal to a higher court, the Supreme Court, if the judges of the court agreed to hear the case.