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Wichita area may get an Indian casino

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Jun.25, 2008

PARK CITY, KS - Is the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma planning a casino on land they own along Interstate 35 north of Wichita? Speculation emerged last week when a developer with ties to the tribe bought the adjacent Wild West World amusement park in Park City, Kansas.

The purchase of the failed amusement park was made at a federal bankruptcy court auction for $2.15 million. The developer is Alan Ginsburg of AHG Group LLC from Maitland, Florida. He was an early investor in the Wyandotte Nation's 7th Street Casino in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

The Wyandotte Nation may have similar plans in Park City. In 2006 they began the federal application process to qualify their land for casino gambling. If accepted, the land will be taken into federal trust and the tribe can operate Class II gambling (bingo-type slot machines) without state or local approval. If Class III is found constitutional under Kansas law, the tribe will be able to negotiate a gaming compact with the state to operate Vegas-style slot machines, blackjack, and other games played against the house bank.

The gaming application is being processed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Last March the bureau sought formal comments from the public regarding the application. State Assistant Attorney General Steve Phillips answered: "This trust application for gaming purposes is completely inappropriate. The Wyandotte Nation can show no historical connection to the land." He noted the distance from the tribe's reservation in Wyandotte, Oklahoma is 270 miles, which exceeds the new federal guidelines announced earlier this year.

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