If the Kansas Lottery and Cherokee County give their approvals people can expect to see a Las Vegas style casino resort just across the border from Oklahoma and within easy driving distance of Joplin, Bentonville, Rogers and Springfield in the four state area. A group of Wichita investors are proposing a casino resort complex with an investment of more than twice that required to apply for a license. The proposed destination resort would include a full service 200 room hotel, 30,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, a 5,000-6,000 seat entertainment venue hosting national acts and pro hockey games, upscale steakhouse dining, lounges and bars.
It would be the fourth casino in the state following Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas Star in Mulvane, and Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway opened in 2009, 2011, and 2012 respectively. In addition to drawing customers from next door and nearby Missouri and Arkansas, the property would offer direct competition to several casinos in Oklahoma including the Downstream Casino resort literally blocks away in Quapaw.
According to the Kansas Lottery, the three existing casinos have taken in over a billion dollars in revenue since opening with nearly $250 million of that going into the state’s coffers. Payments to local governments have so far exceeded $32 million, and the Problem Gambling & Addictions Grant Fund has seen an influx of over $20 million. With the scale of the proposed Castle Rock resort, one could expect those numbers to go much higher after the first full year of operation.
Kansas began accepting applications for a casino in the SE zone of the state (Cherokee and Crawford counties) in July. The deadline for applications is December 19. There is no confirmed launch date at this time. If approved, Castle Rock Casino Resort would be located in Cherokee County, less than one mile north of I-44 directly on US 400.
At last report there were two other potential suitors for the SE Zone that Penn National pulled out of soon after the Downstream Casino opened. Phil Ruffin (owner of Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas) may apply in partnership with Downstream to build a casino, restaurant and event center at his Camptown Greyhound Park in Frontenac, just north of Pittsburg. Southeast Kansas Casino Group has signalled interest in opening a casino, hotel and restaurant on 200 acres of private ground south of Pittsburg at the junction of U.S. Highway 69 and Kansas Highway 400.