(WICHITA, Kan.) — One casino is already under construction in south central Kansas. Now an increased effort is underway to build a second. The Wyandotte Nation filed a suit this week against the Department of Interior. It says the government is taking too long to sign off on a tribal casino in Park City.
For five years, there's been talk of a tribal casino being build near the old Wild West World in Park City. "They never have actually done it," said Wichita resident Bruce Bolte. The Wyandotte Nation says the hold up has nothing to do with them. "We wish we did have an idea of why it's taking so long," said Chief Billy Friend.
Friend says instead of continuing to wonder, they filed a lawsuit against the Department of Interior. "We feel like we've been very patient, we've taken the high road as long as we could. We're left with no recourse but to take this action," he said. The Department of Interior is the agency that decides if ten acres in Park City should be placed into a trust. If that happens, a casino with about 1,000 slot machines would open. "It's vital for the economic development of the Wyandotte Nation," Friend said.
Eyewitness News asked Friend if the timing of this lawsuit had anything to do with the casino being build in Sumner County. But he says no, they don't consider the Kansas Star casino competition. "There's plenty of opportunity for two casinos to survive and make money." Research shows revenue at the Sumner County casino would drop about 21% if a tribal casino opens. The general manager of the Kansas Star casino says he has no comment on the lawsuit.
If the Wyandotte Nation gets its way, a tribal casino will happen. Friend hopes the lawsuit now speeds up the process. The Department of Interior has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit. A spokesman says they don't comment on pending litigation. If the land ends up in trust, there would be a 30 day public comment period. Friend says right now there's no time line for how quickly a casino would open if approved.