MGM Mirage joins effort to put casino near Wichita

Wichita, Kansas (AP) 11-07

Casino giant MGM Mirage has become the latest player in the high-stakes game to put a casino resort complex in Sumner County near Wichita.

The company has partnered with Foxwood Development Co. of Connecticut, Chisholm Creek Ventures of Wichita and two American Indian tribes in a build the Chisholm Creek Casino Resort on 176 acres near the Mulvane interchange on the Kansas Turnpike. The site, south of Kansas 53, is just across the county line separating Sedgwick and Sumner counties. While Sedgwick County voters rejected a casino, Sumner County voters approved one.

At least four other proposals – one near the same site and three others near the Wellington interchange – are expected for casinos in Sumner County.

The county is scheduled to endorse one or more of the proposals on Dec. 12 following two days of hearings. A state review board will make the final decision, pending a court ruling on the constitutionality of the state’s expanded gambling law.

Developers of the Chisholm Creek Casino Resort announced their plan would include a 250-room hotel, a retail shopping arcade, a spa, golf course, and food, entertainment and meeting venues. The casino floor would offer 2,000 slot machines and 50 gaming tables. It would employ 1,425 to 1,475 people.

Gary Armentrout, managing director of Foxwoods Development, would not disclose the cost of the Chisholm Creek Casino Resort proposal, but said it will be well in excess of the minimum $225 million required by the new law.

MGM operates 17 casinos, including Bellagio, Circus Circus, Mandalay Bay, Luxor and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“MGM’s presence in our project, already a high-quality project, will bring this project to an entirely new level of quality and professionalism,” Armentrout said.

Foxwoods, the gaming entity of the Mashantucket Pequotcq-release tribe, owns Foxwoods Resort Casino in southeastern Connecticut. MGM and the tribe formed a partnership called Unity Gaming, said Scott Snow, president and chief executive officer of MGM Mirage’s management and technical services.

Unity Gaming would own 90 percent of the Sumner County project, with Chisholm Creek Ventures and its partner, the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska, each owning 5 percent, Armentrout said.

Developers have been undeterred by a petition against a casino by residents of Mulvane, which is five miles from the proposed casino site, he said.

Armentrout said that the closer a casino resort is to a population base, the greater the financial return and the bigger a project that can be developed.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “The state is going to decide on a project that benefits the entire state of Kansas, and our location meets that criteria.”