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Cherokee County casino proposal is withdrawn

September 11, 2008

TOPEKA Penn National Gaming, who submitted the only plan for a Cherokee County casino, has withdrawn its offer. The company said it could not compete with the nearby Downstream Casino operated by the Quapaw Tribe. The tribal casino opened this past summer in Oklahoma adjacent to the Kansas and Missouri borders.

Last month the Kansas gaming review board approved Penn National's contract proposal to build a $225 million casino in Cherokee County.

Eric Schippers, a Penn National vice president, said "The Legislature did not envision the speed with which their project (Downstream Casino) was developed or even the fact that their project could be developed. We were looking for a way to try to make it work despite the competition across the street."

Schippers said, the $225 million investment was too large, even when phased in over 12 years. Based on competition from the Downstream Casino, he feels the investment should be closer to the $50 millions required for Ford County.

According to Schippers, the Cherokee County casino could be financially viable if Penn National could also build the casino they proposed near Wellington in Sumner County. However, the casino review board already picked Harrah's Entertainment for the Sumner County casino.

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