With state owned gambling receiving the thumbs up from the Kansas Supreme Court, the KS Lottery has moved forward in selecting the companies who will run the facilities. One of those companies is Penn National Gaming. They were the sole company to put in a bid for the southern part of Kansas in Cherokee County. They also put in a bid for a casino south of Wichita. As the Kansas City Star reported, they won the contract for south Kansas and Penn then said they might pull their support for the new contract if they were not awarded the contract for a Wichita casino, citing new competition from the Okalahoma Downstream Casino as the reason. Unfortunately for Penn, the KS Lottery didn’t respond to their threats as they selected Harrah’s to run the Wichita casino. How Penn will handle the situation is anyone’s guess, but they are clearly disappointed:
In recent weeks, Penn has pitched its “southern strategy” to state officials, making it clear Penn wanted to operate in both the southeast and south-central Kansas gambling zones, or none.
“We’ve got to digest this decision and discuss it with our board,” Penn spokesman Eric Schippers said Friday. “We’re clearly disappointed.
“A Cherokee County casino on a stand-alone basis would be very difficult to justify, given the market conditions there … the competition across the street.”
This wasn’t the first time Penn National Gaming tried to use threats to get what they wanted. As reported by Casino Watch, they tried to get the lottery to accept a contract with less than the $250 million dollar upfront investment required by Kansas law. These threats seem to be simple business practices for Penn National.