Sumner County has started seeking new proposals for a casino and hotel complex, six weeks after a group led by Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. abandoned plans to build one.

The county commission issued a pared-down request for proposals during its Monday meeting.

“We’re just asking for developers that are interested in Sumner County to submit a proposal,” Chairman Garey Martin said. “Hopefully there’ll be more than one developer interested in Sumner County.”

The Kansas Lottery will own the new gambling but will contract with a private developer to build and manage the complex.

The Lottery has set an April 1 deadline for applications, but developers must have the endorsement of local officials to have a chance at a contract. The Lottery can approve multiple proposed contracts, and a state review board will narrow the field to one developer.

Janice Hellard, director of the Sumner County Economic Development Commission, said four developers have expressed interest in bidding for the project, and others have called with questions about the process. She declined to identify them.

The new request for proposals from the commission mainly asks that applicants comply with state law and local ordinances, meet the required $225 million minimum investment and identify needed infrastructure improvements. The commission dropped requirements for a Las Vegas-style casino, hotel, convention center and other amenities, a transportation plan, and previous experience running such facilities.

Hellard said the request was streamlined because the time for submitting applications is short.

The Harrah’s group, which planned to build its complex near Mulvane, had won a contract with the Lottery, prevailing over two applicants proposing sites near Wellington. But Harrah’s cited the slumping economy in withdrawing its plans.

A 2007 law allows a casino not only in Sumner County but one each in Ford, Wyandotte and either Crawford or Cherokee counties.

Construction on the Ford County casino has begun.

But the Lottery has reopened bidding in southeast Kansas and Wyandotte County after plans fell through for casinos in those locations. The deadline for southeast Kansas applications is Jan. 21 and, for Wyandotte County, April 1.


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Information from: The Wichita Eagle,