Kansas Tribe Opens Trailer Casino, as State Continues Legal Opposition

Posted on: October 11, 2020, 07:00h. 

Last updated on: October 9, 2020, 11:08h.

The Wyandotte Nation in Kansas has opened up a casino trailer packed with electronic bingo machines.

Kansas casino Wyandotte Nation gaming
A casino trailer in Kansas is drawing small crowds. (Image: Getty)

This week, the tribe opened the doors to its casino. But guests shouldn’t expect the glitz and glamour of a Las Vegas gambling experience. There is no valet, hotel, or casino host. Instead, the gaming venue, located in Sedgwick County near 77th North and Interstate 135, is operating out of a modular trailer.

Named Crosswinds Casino, the trailer offers guests Class II bingo gaming machines. KWCH CBS12 reported that while there has been no advertising for the casino, the parking lot has been full.

I think Park City is a beautiful place to be and I think there’s a lot going on around Park City, so we’re happy to be a part of it,” said Crosswinds General Manager Kevin Lein. “The Nation will be a very good neighbor to the community.”

The Wyandotte Nation opened its trailer casino as construction continues on its larger gaming resort on adjacent land. The permanent casino is expected to be completed by the end of the year and open its doors in January of 2021.

Legal Battle

State officials are contesting the legal authority of the tribe to operate gaming on the property.

The Wyandotte Nation is a federally recognized tribe, but is headquartered in Oklahoma. The tribe owns and operates the River Bend Casino Hotel in the Sooner State, which is a Class III facility that houses slot machines and table games.

The Wyandotte Nation has historical ties to Kansas, and for years has been fighting in court for its legal rights to operate Class III gaming in the Sunflower State. The tribe is already invested in Kansas by way of its 7th Street Casino in Kansas City, a Class II facility with bingo machines.

The Wyandotte Nation has grander plans with its under-construction casino in Sedgwick County’s Park City. In May, the US Department of the Interior (DOI) agreed to take some 100 acres of land bought by the tribe into federal trust, clearing the way for the Wyandotte people to operate Class I and II gaming on the property.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court of Kansas asking a federal judge to order the DOI to reconsider its decision.

“[Kansas has] been deprived of its lawful right of consultation and approval because it was not consulted about the matter, nor was its approval sought or given for gaming to occur on the land in issue,” Schmidt argues in the court filing.

State-Owned Casinos

The Kansas Constitution bans any private company from fully owning a commercial casino. That’s why the state holds stakes, albeit minimal ones, in its four commercial casinos.

The state claims ownership of the games — specifically the cards, dice, and tables — and collects a share of the gross gaming revenue profits. The Wyandotte casino project is just 10 miles from the Kansas Star Casino, one of the four commercial casinos.

Kansas has entered into Class III gaming compacts with other tribes to allow them to operate slot machines and table games. Today, the state has four Class III tribal casinos in operation: Casino White Cloud in White Cloud, Golden Eagle in Horton, Prairie Band in Mayetta, and Sac and Fox in Powhattan.