The Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board last week awarded the contract for a destination casino in suburban Kansas City to a partnership that will spend $705 million to build a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Wyandotte County.

The facility is set to open in 2011. It will be built by Kansas Entertainment, whose partners include the operators of the Kansas Speedway motor sports track. The hotel-casino will be adjacent to the track.

The state Legislature passed a law in 2007 that allows one casino each in Wyandotte, Ford, Sumner, and either Crawford or Cherokee counties. The state will own and regulate the casinos, and receive at least 22% of the net revenue, while local governments will receive 3%.

The state expects to realize more than $200 million a year in gambling revenue when all four casinos are operational.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City expects the new gambling venues to generate more than $8 million in new property taxes a year when casino operations begin. The local government share of net gambling revenues is estimated at $7 million a year.

The Wyandotte County complex will include a 300-room luxury hotel, a casino with 3,000 slot machines and 140 gambling tables, and retail, dining, and entertainment venues. The complex will overlook the racetrack.

Contracts were also awarded to casino applicants in Sumner and Cherokee counties, but the winner of the Cherokee County casino later withdrew its application over concerns about competition from a nearby casino operated by a Native American tribe.

The gaming facility review board postponed a decision between two applicants for the Ford County casino contract until it could obtain more information about their finances.

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