After test runs earlier this week, Kansas’ third casino officially opens its doors to the public today. It is the largest of the three casinos, and its opening come just a few weeks after the Kansas Star Casino opened near Wichita during the holidays.
Owned and operated by Kansas Entertainment LLC, a joint venture of Penn National Gaming and International Speedway Corporation, the casino offers an unusual setting, overlooking Turn Two of Kansas Speedway, which hosts two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events each year. It is not the only casino at a NASCAR track – Dover Downs Hotel & Casino in Delaware is part of the facilities at Dover International Speedway.
Hollywood’s 95,000 square feet of casino space offers 2,000 slot machines and 52 table games, including poker. Estimates call for around $200 million in gaming revenues annually, and a big chunk of that is expected to come from players who were previously drawn to the four casinos on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro market. Those facilities are bracing for the competition from Kansas; together they produced more than $700 million in gaming revenue during fiscal 2011.
Kansas will get a significant boost from revenues at both Kansas Star and Hollywood Casino as they are the only two casinos located in areas with significant population. Early results from Kansas Star are promising – casino revenues were just over $6 million for a few days in December; the casino opened December 22 to players’ club members and December 26 to the general public. It was only open 18 hours a day until mid-January, when was able to get enough employees to provide a full staff around the clock.
The first casino in Kansas was Boot Hill Casino & Resort in Dodge City, with a rural population base of 33,800 in Ford County. From its beginning in December 2009 through the end of January, Boot Hill has brought in $86 million in gaming revenue from its roughly 580 slots and a dozen table games. Of that amount, the State of Kansas has received $18.9 million (22 percent), the state’s Problem Gambling & Addictions Fund received $1.7 million (2 percent), and Dodge City and Ford County each received $1.3 million (1.5 percent). The balance of $62.8 million is retained as a management fee by Boot Hill, which is then responsible for paying all related operations expenses, including the costs of all gaming equipment, the central computer system and slot management system providers and certain expenses of the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission and the Kansas Lottery. The Kansas Lottery retains ownership of the gaming equipment.