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Second Date At Kansas Appears Imminent

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 12 2010
The green flag at Kansas, and at other Sunday races next year, will fall at 1 p.m. Or so. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

The green flag at Kansas may wave twice for Sprint Cup races in 2011. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

The final obstacle for construction of a casino – and likely, the addition of a second yearly Sprint Cup race – at Kansas Speedway has been cleared.

Kansas Entertainment, LLC, (“Kansas Entertainment”) a 50/50 joint venture of Penn Hollywood Kansas, Inc. and Kansas Speedway Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of International Speedway Corporation, today announced that it has received the final approval under the Kansas Expanded Lottery Act along with its gaming license from the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission to proceed with the development of the Hollywood-themed destination casino overlooking Turn 2 at Kansas Speedway.

ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy has stated repeatedly that after final approval for a casino was granted, she would petition NASCAR for the second race. She reiterated that Friday.

“We are grateful to the Unified Government of Kansas City and Wyandotte County, the Kansas Lottery Commission, the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board and the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission, for their assistance and their support of our plans as we embark on the creation of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway,” said France Kennedy Friday.

“International Speedway Corporation is also excited to partner with Penn National Gaming on a project that will elevate the status of Kansas Speedway to a world-class sports, entertainment and leisure destination.  In addition, we believe our partnership with Penn National will result in a property that drives increased tourism and tax revenue for the local community and further improves the scope of our business.  The casino is just a starting point of all the good things to come as we fulfill our commitment to seek a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, build a road course and host a Grand-Am race and allocate one percent of the casino’s revenue in support of the various organizations that make up the fabric of our community.”

That race could be held as early as the 2011 season. The date for that race will come from another “donor” ISC track.

Speedway president Jeff Boerger has said that construction of a casino would also mean the construction of an infield road-racing course at the speedway. If that is built, which now appears definite, the track would ask the Rolex Grand-Am Road Racing Series to grant the speedway a race date.

“We’re excited to start this project and look forward to bringing a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, road course and Grand-AM race to Kansas Speedway and Kansas City, Kansas,” said Kansas Speedway President Jeff Boerger. “The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway will be a world-class destination and provide race fans an additional entertainment option during our events.”

In 2009 the Unified Government of Kansas City and Wyandotte County endorsed the project and Kansas Entertainment, which successfully negotiated a management agreement with the Kansas Lottery Commission.  That agreement was subsequently approved by the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board.  Kansas Entertainment plans to begin construction of the facility early in the second half of 2010 with a planned opening in the first half of 2012.

Peter M. Carlino, CEO of Penn National commented, “Today’s approval formally cements our role in the Wyandotte County community and we are excited to begin working alongside our partner, International Speedway Corporation, and with local businesses to construct a distinctive, first-class entertainment facility and destination resort.  Kansas Entertainment is committed to the long-term economic growth of Wyandotte County and the state of Kansas and we believe the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway will be a growth engine bringing over 1,700 construction jobs, over 1,000 full time jobs and significant additional economic benefits to the Kansas City region.

The $386 million phase one development of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway includes a 100,000-square-foot casino floor with capacity for 2,300 slot machines and 86 table games, a high-energy lounge and a variety of dining and entertainment options.

Kansas Entertainment’s plans include additional phases, which will bring a hotel, expanded gaming space, a spa, convention center and an entertainment retail district to Kansas Speedway, pending market demands.  Pursuant to the terms of the joint venture, Kansas Speedway Development Corporation contributed 101 acres at Kansas Speedway for the development of the new facility.  Penn National Gaming and International Speedway Corporation will equally share the full project development costs.

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, February 12 2010
One Comment

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  • ed says:

    I wonder if the contract to build the casino, based on a promise of a second Cup race at Kansas Speedway, has any provisions for how long the track must present a second Cup race. What is to keep the Speedway Corporation from running 2 Cup races at Kansas for 3-4 years and the reallocate the race to another track? Surely the Frances would like to build another track in a large, unserved market? Maintaining the Kansas Casino profits, of course. There is any reason to be suspicious of the France family (wink, wink), but it sure would be nice to see the contract.

    Oh, who am I kidding? I can’t even see the rules for NASCAR racing, let alone any financial documents.