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Plans collapse for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Kansas Speedway

December 9, 2008

KANSAS CITY, KS – The partners to build the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino at Kansas Speedway suddenly withdrew their application a few hours before the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission gave final approval. The casino partners International Speedway Corp. and the Cordish Co. said it had become "prudent and necessary" to withdraw their $705 million application.

The announcement qualifies the Hard Rock partnership to recover its $25 million application fee since it preceded the commission’s final approval. Otherwise, the fee would have become nonrefundable.

"Hard Rock's withdrawal is another unfortunate result of the worldwide crisis that has plagued the financial markets and hit the gaming industry especially hard," said Kansas Lottery director Ed Van Petten.

The Hard Rock partnership, Kansas Entertainment LLC, said it remains interested in building a casino at the Kansas Speedway, and will submit a new application for a phased project when the state reopens bidding.

"It is absolutely our intention to reapply for a license in the northeast zone," said Kansas Entertainment President Joe Weinberg. "We have a lot of emotion and energy invested in this project."

Weinberg said in a letter to the Kansas Lottery, "Kansas Entertainment remains in a strong financial position, and is prepared immediately to commence development" of a $400 million Hard Rock casino. However, "in the three months since the decision of the Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, there has been an unprecedented crisis and disruption in the global financial and economic markets.

"Economic conditions necessitate that we have the flexibility potentially to phase in at a later date the construction of the non-gaming retail and hotel amenities of the project . in the event financial markets do not recover in the near term."

Weinberg said the first phase of the new development plan would include a $400 million building with the same gambling floor, 3,000 slots, 140 table games, and five restaurants.

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