Kansas Crossing Casino construction is halted due to pending lawsuits filed by Castle Rock Casino and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners. The lawsuits allege the State of Kansas awarded the final state-owned casino license to Kansas Crossing against the law. Kansas Crossing has filed an extension to postpone their “commencement date” for 90 days, which the Kansas Lottery Commission has accepted. Under the law, Kansas Crossing can file an extension and request another at any time if the litigation is still pending.
A letter sent August 31, 2016 from Director Terry P. Presta, the Kansas Lottery Executive Director, states the company has to provide a written assessment of the status of the pending cases and, “if it so desires, may request another extension at that time,” if the lawsuits are still ongoing.
The extension letter was submitted on August 17, 2015, which said, “based solely on Kansas Crossing’s concerns about pending litigation and the impact of said litigation on the award and approval of its contract,” was the reason for the documents submission.
Castle Rock, which was a competitor for the last state-owned casino license, and the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners believe the southeast Kansas casino, Kansas Crossing, was awarded the contract based on wrong decisions by the Kansas Lottery and Gaming Facilities. Castle Rock submitted a 555 page document for the lawsuit as a direct challenge for their decision.
Russel Jones who is with Polsinelli Law Firm and representing Castle Rock stated the group feels the commission failed to follow laws regarding the awarding of the contract to Kansas Crossing Casino. The review board gave the contract of $70.2 million in June 2015. It was the smallest of the three competing casino proposals.
Castle Rock bid $145 million for their project close to Interstate 44 in Cherokee County. It was the largest proposal submitted. Castle Rock’s proposal was twice the size and expected 1 million visitors per annum, which is also double what Kansas Crossing expects.
District Judge Larry D. Hendricks, on July 31, declined to issue any preliminary injunction, which Cherokee County Board of Commissioners asked for. The injunction would have prevented Kansas Crossing from going forward with their plans.