Always Bet on Red. Tape.
As the economy recovers and the creak of wallets and pocketbooks opening begin to reverberate through our communities again, consumers are out looking ways to utilize their disposable income. Unfortunately for the residents of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, one option that won't be available is the planned 248-room hotel to be constructed by Hollywood Casino and Penn National Gaming. Political wrangling and posturing once again is clamping down on the recovery as recent maneuvers by the legislator have given the gaming developers cold feet. The postponement is almost certainly going to cost construction jobs as well as work inside the newly built gaming building once it is complete. What we may hear next is the clamping back down of those wallets and pocketbooks.
Fears of Competition
It would appear that the hesitation by the developers is being sparked by legislation that, while not likely to become law, is continuing to be floated on the floor of the Capitol. If passed, the bill would expand gaming so that the Woodlands Racetrack would be permitted to open with several thousand slot machines. Not only do the slot machines draw potential customers out of the casinos, but it also puts the Woodlands at a significant tax advantage. The stonewalling by casino officials to break ground isn't getting the legislature to bend at this point due to the fact that they could face a hefty bill by allowing the expansion of the slots because of contract intricacies with existing casinos.
The County and City to see a Windfall
While the maneuvering by casino officials appears to be a head scratcher due to the unfriendly political environment towards gaming in the state, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City are set to see a windfall as contractual obligations are forcing Hollywood Casino and Penn National Gaming to pay a penalty of 1% of their gaming revenues for each year construction is delayed. That tab is expected to be north of $1.4 million this year alone. While the general consensus of both the legislature and casino officials is to see the hotel built, it looks like the Unified Government is holding all the cards at this point.