With the coming opening of Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway next to Legends, what are we to think?
Will this be the perfect storm? A Casino that actually brings people to shop and be entertained in the surrounding area? The ones that opened in the early 90’s in Missouri did the exact opposite.
The casinos that opened here in the middle of nowhere took a toll on our entertainment districts, Westport and the Plaza. You don’t hear much about that anymore, but it’s true. The advent of the urban, hip-hop, rap generation movement added to that decline, but it all started with Kansas City’s love affair with gambling 20 years ago.
Maybe you’ve forgotten, but had to BUY a ticket to get on the BOATS. Then you had SHIFTS and had to leave, or buy another pass to get back on. One casino had two boats. Which one should you get on?
It was wild, it was exciting and it nearly destroyed our local restaurants and bars for five years.
The casino’s even offered AFTER HOURS COCKTAILS.
For a time they served until 5 AM. All of that nonsense ended by 1997. In fact today you don’t need a card to get on and there are no limits – it’s VEGAS STYLE gaming today. Yet after 20 years the attendance is way, way down at Kansas City’s Casinos.
Remember when the Star used to print those pie charts showing which casino was doing the most biz?
A poor economy combined with the "it ain’t new anymore" took a toll. One major casino – Sam’s Town – went bust. A couple others have sold and had name changes. There are no "boats" anymore and you don’t have to be by the water.
Kinda like weed. Before long it will be legal and what will they tell all those 50-60 year olds who did prison time for having a bag of pot in the car back in the 60s, 70s or 80s? That the government really cares about you, your health and welfare? Uh, not really – they never did. It’s a BUSINESS.
The Hollywood Casino, due to open February 3rd, may be a horse of a different color.
First off it’s one of the few casinos located by a large shopping area with a decent population nearby.
Unlike most others in the middle of nowhere. It reminds me of the one in Hollywood Florida by the Hard Rock or in it actually. It does very well – lots of tourists and traffic – and the mall next door does well too.
And this may be the case here.
The depression, I’m sorry recession, stopped several big companies including Red Development, who owns or did own most of Legends, from wanting a casino. Remember the bidding wars on this puppy in 2006 and 2007?
They ended up with one buyer. Also the Hollywood casino is next to several EVENT stadiums and that will help. It may actually bring people out to Legends to eat, shop and have early entertainment like at our comedy club. Dinner, a show and gambling – all in a close area. It makes sense.
The bloom is off the rose for seeing yet another Vegas style casino, but people that live out this way were kinda far from Harrah’s and the other casinos, so this might bring more locals out more often.
It could be really busy and help the city of KCK and add to the attendance at Legends. They have no showroom or hotel yet and who knows if they ever will? They will have a few restaurants, but most likely most people will eat at the more stable restaurants nearby.
Time will tell.
But you have to hand it to KCK, Village West and Legends for becoming a centerpiece of Kansas City entertainment. They offer it all now, family, teenage and adult entertainment. A one stop shop.
Could be a real boon for the area.