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Vegas Casino Owner, Tribal Resort Turning Vacant Racetrack Into Upscale Casino

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Las Vegas Treasure Island Hotel & Casino and Camptown Greyhound Park owner Phil Ruffin has joined forces with the Downstream Casino Resort to reopen the long-vacant track in Southeast Kansas as a state-owned, privately managed upscale casino, and the partnership says the facility could be ready to open on a fast track if approved by the state Lottery Commission.

"I have long admired Quapaw Chairman John Berrey and the Tribe for their remarkable success in our region with their Downstream Casino Resort, and for their good will and strength in community partnerships," Ruffin said. "They know how to get things done. I know how to get things done. This is a strong partnership."

"This is a very positive force for bringing new jobs and new economic opportunities to the communities of Southeast Kansas," Chairman Berrey said. "Partnering with Kansas native Mr. Ruffin makes a lot of sense. And we know that Camptown can be a great success for the region, the local community and its citizens."

The Ruffin-Downstream partnership is set to go to work immediately on bringing gaming to Crawford County as quickly as possible. Camptown, located in Frontenac, north of Pittsburg, Kan., has a jump on the development process because a large investment has already been made on the site and a substantial amount of infrastructure is in place.

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"This will be a full-scale, state-of-the-art casino. I'd say it would be a slightly smaller version of Downstream Casino," Ruffin said, "with the kind of style and quality the Quapaw Tribe is known for."

An amended Kansas gaming law took effect July 1 that decreased the required investment for a casino from $225 million to $50 million and also reduced the state gaming license fee from $25 million to $5.5 million. That became necessary when, after six years, no gaming applicants for the state's Southeast Zone came forward willing to compete with the Tribe's Downstream Casino, which sits at the corner of the three states — Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Since then, various rumors of prospective and hoped-for casino development applicants have circulated but none with the promise of the Ruffin–Downstream partnership.

"We have a great location. We have the know-how and the resources. And most importantly we have our hearts in the right place to make Camptown a great success for Southeast Kansas and its people," Ruffin said.

Chairman Berrey said: "Phil Ruffin has an amazing history of success and we have a great history as well. Together we can succeed in an even greater way. We look forward to sharing further details and kicking off this project in the near future."