On August 27th, 2008, the last legal trouble to casino gaming in Wyandotte County has fallen. Shawnee District Court Judge Franklin R. Thesis dismissed a lawsuit filed in March by a citizen's tax watchdog organization that claimed that the proposals by 3 of the 4 remaining Wyandotte County casino applicants violated a prohibition on public financing to benefit gaming facilities.
In an eighteen page decision, Franklin Thesis determined Kansas' Expanded Lottery Act only prohibits taxpayer assistance for future casino facilities and does not prohibit casino projects from an association with enterprises that benefited from public revenue bonds or tax breaks in the past or in the present.
Alan Cobb, the director of the Kansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity and part of a group that pushed the lawsuit, could not be reached for any comment. The president of Kansas Speedway, Jeff Boerger, whose plan for a Hard Rock Casino facility in collaboration with the Cordish Co. was a target of the case, expressed relief on the decision. The lawsuit named the Kansas Lottery, the Kansas Lottery Commision, the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission as defendants in the case.
The Review Board is set to meet in Topeka next week in its final round of hearings on the casino proposals in Wyandotte and Ford Counties. The Gaming Board will convene again September 18th, 2008 and September 19th, 2008 and announce which casino project will be offered the gaming contracts to manage one state-owned casino facilities in each county. Last week, the panel picked operators for state-owned casinos in Sumner and Cherokee Counties.
The lawsuit alleged that the projects proposed by the Speedway group, Pinnacle Entertainment and Leg Sun LLC were intertwined with additional developments that had benefited from previous tax increment financing, the state approved STAR bond casino projects or some other state expenditure and as such were part of the overall development.
09/14/2008 07:53 PM