A gaming commission vote approving a new casino in Kansas City, Kansas could only be made sweeter if the final paperwork is processed quickly, according to Mayor Joe Reardon.
The mayor offered celebratory remarks during a brief statement to the media Tuesday at City Hall, but said the "Unified Government stands ready to issue building permits and get this project underway as quickly as possible." The mayor said the area stands to gain more than 2,000 construction jobs, when the building process begins this summer. In addition, the casino, which has been in the making for the last 15 years, will add about 1,000 permanent jobs once the doors open in January, 2012, the mayor said.
The casino will join several existing area casinos, including Argosy, Harrah's, Ameristar and Isle.
Reardon urged the state to "expedite the background check procedure so that the license can be officially issued." In addition, the mayor credited the new casino with promising "substantial positive economic impact in Wyandotte County and the region." The proposal is expected to generate about $6 million in new revenue for the community, and approximately $225 million in gaming revenues to the state of Kansas. He continued, "In these economic times, creating new jobs and putting our citizens to work is critically important to our future," he said of the $521 million project, slated for Kansas Speedway, which is the Kansas City area's NASCAR racing track.
The measure passed in spite of earlier concerns by the state board in charge of awarding such contracts, that the original construction phase does not include a hotel. Construction of a hotel is slated to begin in January, 2012, according to documents supplied by the International Speedway Corp., the NASCAR track's parent company, and Penn National Gaming Inc., of Wyomissing, Pa., which are partners in the venture.
Company officials said the original phase does not include a hotel because the project lacks the extra funds needed for a hotel. In addition, the casino initially will rely on existing hotels in the area for lodging. The approximately 1,000 area hotels are, on average, only, on average, half-full now, providing adequate lodging, initially, for the 4.3 million total anticipated annual visitors to the casino.
Future construction at the newly-approved casino calls for a possible expansion of the casino, entertainment district, convention facilities, a spa/pool and additional, structured parking. These additions will be based on market demand, according to documents submitted by the developer.