Casino revenues dip, but officials plan for growth
The Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway may have gotten a slow start, but casino officials say they are right where they want to be.
After Hollywood had a stellar opening month in February 2012, revenues during the inaugural year of the casino didn’t quite reached original projections. But Dean Doria, vice president of marketing, says the year fit the pattern often seen at new casinos for Penn National Gaming, which runs the state-owned casino.
“The first year went as we expected – we opened up with large crowds, and then things died down a little as people went back to their usual routines, before they started ramping back up again,” Doria said.
The slowdown after opening is reflected in the 3 percent of gaming revenues the casino gives to local governments through the state.
The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., last year projected it would receive $3.7 million in casino revenues in 2012: $2.3 million for the county, $1.1 million for the Kansas City, Kan., share. The cities of Bonner Springs and Edwardsville also receive some of the revenues.
The revenue distributions take about two months to parcel out, so numbers from December are not yet available, but Edwin Birch, public information officer for the Unified Government, said the total amount of revenues distributed to the local governments thus far from 2012 was $3.09 million:
• Wyandotte County – $1,546,294
• Kansas City – $773,147
• Bonner Springs – $486,000
• Edwardsville – $287,147
Those numbers may see a significant increase thanks to the holiday shopping in December, when Doria said retail traffic from Village West boosted traffic at the casino.
“Especially in December, we fell that we benefitted from that because of the additional retail traffic from the holidays,” he said.
The casino also may see more visitors in the future on weekends when races take place at the Kansas Speedway.
Traffic related to the first race that took place after the casino’s opening, in April 2012, caused some problems for casino visitors, but by the second race in October, Doria said most of those issues had been solved.
“Crowds were much better the second race for us, I think partially because people were more aware we were here,” he said. “Hopefully by the third race coming up in April, it will be even better.”
The casino celebrated its first anniversary Feb. 3 with a $15,000 giveaway and other rewards for gamblers, and on Feb. 7, it planned to present a $1.1 million check to the county to fulfill a charitable contribution agreement: $500,000 of which would go to local charities, $100,000 to parks and recreation, and another $500,000 to be split among the non-host school districts in the county.
“As corporate citizens, we’re proud to be able to fulfill that commitment,” Doria said.
Birch said the Unified Government Commission continues to meet in order to lay out a plan and set policy as to how the additional casino dollars with be distributed from the local charity contribution.
As for the future, Doria said the casino remains committed to its original agreement of constructing a hotel within two years of the casino’s opening, but the company is still working to find hotel to partner with. The hotel would be built on the casino’s west side.