UG receives first Hollywood Casino payment
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City has received its first financial payment from the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway before the casino breaks ground.
Officials with Penn National Gaming and Kansas Speedway presented $335,781 to Mayor Joe Reardon and Unified Government officials during a recent ceremony at Kansas Speedway. The check represents the first two months of advance payments on gaming revenue committed to the local community.
“The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway will be a tremendous economic asset to Wyandotte County by creating jobs, tourism and revenues for the entire community,” Reardon said. “This payment to the Unified Government is particularly significant because it marks the first of many economic benefits to come for not only the Unified Government, but Bonner Springs, Edwardsville, schools and community groups.”
The early payment was negotiated as part of the Master Development Agreement between the Unified Government and the casino development partnership. The revenue will go into the Unified Government General Fund. The casino payment comes at a critical time for the Unified Government as it continues to struggle with budget shortfalls and is beginning to plan for the 2011 budget. Exact use of the revenue will be discussed and decided by the Unified Government Commission during budget hearings this summer.
An interlocal agreement between the Unified Government and cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville remains in place, meaning every city in Wyandotte County will share a piece of the revenue generated by the casino when it opens. Kansas Entertainment has also agreed to commit 1 percent (approximately $2.2-million) of gaming revenue annually to the Unified Government of Wyandotte County for unrestricted civic use, plus annual contributions of $500,000 per year to non-host school districts, $500,000 per year to community services and charitable causes, $100,000 to Unified Government Parks and Recreation, $25,000 to Conventions and Visitors Bureau and $10,000 per year to local Chambers of Commerce.
“Our goal is to maximize the long-term economic growth of Wyandotte County and our initial payments to the Unified Government are evidence of that financial commitment. We believe the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway represents a major economic growth engine for the region, and Kansas Entertainment is pleased to provide an immediate financial boost to the local community in advance of the start of construction,” stated Penn National Gaming President Timothy Wilmott.
The Hollywood Casino is expected to open in early 2012.