The Kansas Supreme Court has scheduled opening arguments in the case of Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel in the southeast portion of the state. Kansas Crossing and the state lottery board are being sued by Castle Rock Casino and the Cherokee County Commission. The plaintiffs filed suit soon after the license for the fourth and final Kansas casino was issued in June 2015.
Castle Rock was slated cost some $145 million and attract as many as half a million more visitors each year than the smaller winning proposal.
Kansas Crossing was planned to open in June 2016 but the project has been delayed by lawsuits. The $70.2 million casino project has resumed construction but is not expected to open before March 31, 2017. The state lottery has granted the project several deadline extensions.
Cherokee County and investors in Castle Rock contend that the lottery board did not follow state law in awarding the license to smaller casino project, which will likely create fewer jobs and bring in less revenue to the state.
In April 2015 the lottery board determined that all the contenders for the license were qualified to proceed. However, an independent report later indicated that Castle Rock may have trouble raising funds.
In rejecting plaintiff’s arguments in April 2016, Judge Larry D. Hendricks deferred to the board’s decision stating that “the board’s concern with Castle Rock does not seem to have been that it could not be funded, however, but that it would fail even if it was funded.”
Cherokee County had argued then that the state acted “arbitrarily, capriciously and otherwise unreasonably when they selected Kansas Crossing over Castle Rock.” The judge found that argument to be unsound “in light of the market uncertainties and the evidence before it.”
The case will come before the seven judges at 9 a.m. January 25, 2017, in Topeka.