Gambling companies make pitch for Sumner casino

TOPEKA — The top executives of two companies bidding to build Sumner County's casino tackled the most negative issues surrounding their proposals this afternoon before the state board that will choose the winner.

John Elliott, chief executive of Global Gaming Solutions, said the board's financial consultants made mistakes and used flawed methodology when they projected more revenue for the opposing site near Mulvane, 14 miles closer to Wichita than his company's site near Wellington.

Although distance to gambling facilities matters, he said, "the difference here is, the distance isn't great."

Elliott said the consultants' estimates don't reflect what would actually happen in the real world. Wichita residents would have only one casino choice, excluding a potential tribal casino that has been proposed for Park City, he said.

Elliott, whose company is based in Oklahoma, said customers from Edmond, Okla., north of Oklahoma City, visit Global's Riverwind Casino south of Norman more often than the casino at Remington Park, which is closer, because it satisfies their needs better.

He also pointed out that 1.5 percent of the customers in the Riverwind's database are from Wichita.

The state's casino review board, which will select the winning bidder on Dec. 15, had spent most of the morning listening to two financial consultants say that Peninsula's Mulvane casino would produce much greater gambling revenue than Global's Wellington project.

When it was his turn to address the board, Peninsula's chief executive, Brent Stevens, started by again denying any wrongdoing related to misdemeanor charges that he and the company's chief operating officer Jonathan Swain made contributions in somebody else's name to the failed re-election campaign of Iowa Gov. Chet Culver.

"We're looking for a positive resolution to this issue, and we're looking for it very soon," Stevens said.

Board member Jack Brier later asked Stevens what would happen to Peninsula's plans for its Kansas Star casino if the two men were convicted.

"It goes on. It will be built," Stevens said. "Peninsula Gaming will build the Kansas Star."

Responding to a question from board chairman Matt All, Stevens said any member of the company who fails a background check conducted by the Kansas Racing and Gaming Commission after the board makes its selection will step aside.