Two developers competing for the right to build and manage a Ford County casino cleared another hurdle Tuesday.

    The Kansas Lottery Commission voted to endorse proposed contracts for Butler National Service Corp. and Dodge City Resort and Gaming. The commission will forward those contracts to the seven-member Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which will choose one developer for the project.


    Two developers competing for the right to build and manage a Ford County casino cleared another hurdle Tuesday.
    The Kansas Lottery Commission voted to endorse proposed contracts for Butler National Service Corp. and Dodge City Resort and Gaming. The commission will forward those contracts to the seven-member Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board, which will choose one developer for the project.
    Dodge City Resort President Steve Joseph said he was excited that his company had gotten through the first phase, and he thought it would fare well with the review board.
    "I'm comfortable we've got a really, really good story to tell, and that's what I think will decide this," he said. "Our financing is great, our project is great. We've got all those things kind of in place, and so it's kind of who has the best story to tell about what we can do and how we can do it."
    Butler National President Clark Stewart did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon.
    The Lottery Commission endorsed proposed contracts from 10 developers altogether — two for Ford County, three for Sumner County and five for Wyandotte County. An 11th developer has dropped out of the competition for the Sumner County casino, saying it could not reach acceptable terms with the Lottery.
    The Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board will conduct a public hearing on the two Ford County proposals July 31 in Dodge City, but the time and location have not been set.
    The board is expected to select a developer Sept. 18 and 19 in Topeka.

Competing proposals
    Butler National has proposed building a $92.9 million Wild West-themed destination-style casino on 400 acres west of Dodge City, close to U.S. Highway 50. The casino would include 800 electronic gaming machines, 20 gaming tables and a 124-room resort-style hotel.
    The proposal also calls for a variety of dining areas, a rooftop spa and a center for live entertainment and conferences.
    Dodge City Resort's proposal envisions a largely similar casino, located on 283 acres northeast of Dodge City along U.S. 50. That complex would include 800 gaming machines, 20 gaming tables, several restaurants, three proposed rodeo arenas, an RV park and a livestock showroom.
    Both companies have said they want to have a temporary casino up and running as soon as possible, depending on state approval.
    Both proposals call for the state to receive at least 22 percent of annual casino revenues, with higher percentages linked to specific goals. Ford County and Dodge City would each receive 1.5 percent, and 2 percent would go into a special fund to help problem gamblers.
   
Reach Eric Swanson at (620) 408-9917 or e-mail him at eric.swanson@dodgeglobe.com.