New Jack City: Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway Lets the Good Times Roll

Enticed by a huge, month-long, multimedia ad campaign, I headed west on I-70 Friday afternoon to see what all the excitement created by Penn National Gaming at the Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway was all about.

Surely with all that rain we wouldn’t have any trouble ducking right in for a quick peek into the metro’s newest casino. After all, this was a sleepy Friday afternoon.

Wrong!

The parking garage and every parking lot and space close to the place was packed. So we parked adjacent to Livestrong Sporting Park and took a shuttle bus to the new gambling hall. The driver forewarned us that the place was jumpin’ and that there was a long line in the rain with a 45 minute to an hour wait—OUTSIDE!

 He was correct.

Let’s just say that we ventured beyond the line, and what we found once inside confirmed that we were not in Kansas anymore.

The HOLLYWOOD CASINO is a total class act.

From its design, layout and glitz, this $411 million jewel overlooking the Kansas Speedway at turn two could pass for a brand new casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Except, of course, I couldn’t bet on the Super Bowl since according to Hollywood casino VP of Marketing Dean Doria, sport books are only legal in Delaware and Las Vegas.

About those servers hovering around the tables with free drinks for players…Only soft drinks and water are free. You must pay for beer or other alcoholic beverages according to Kansas law.

What percentage of the local gaming market is Hollywood Casino shooting for?

I don’t think I ever got a straight forward figure, but it’s apparent that the new complex is counting heavily on Johnson County patronage. Which is not to say that Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties won’t be a big factor as well. And crossing the state line from Missouri is definitely encouraged.

Speaking of Missouri, Hollywood’s sister casino, the ARGOSY has a ‘Marquee Rewards’ program with reciprocal priviledges at Hollywood.

Some other observations.

Currently Hollywood Casino does not have a showroom but is planning on adding one as part of phase 2 of the facility in a couple of years. Ditto an adjacent hotel which will also be part of phase 2.

How large a hotel?

To be determined by volume of  attendance in the near future.

Is there Baccarat gaming at Hollywood Casino? Yes, but it’s a small table game. (Same game just small tables.)

And what about Hollywood’s smoking policy?

It’s allowed in most of the gaming spaces although a small area has been set aside where puffing is a no-no.

Marketing VP Doria stresses that the building is equipped with a superior ventilation system, and smoking in any of the casino’s restaurants is prohibited.

And what if you’re a whale – you know – a really big spender?

Come on down, Hollywood says. The casino has no less than five special hosts to placate whales and will hire more if needed.

Maximum bets on table games is $5,000,  but can be adjusted upwards by customer demand.

The only problem is that Kansas law forbids the casino from extending credit to gamblers.

So the big boys will either have to make a lot of ATM and credit card use or carry the green stuff in their rucksacks.

It was apparent that many of the dealers we observed were still pretty green and pit bosses often had to be called to tables. But that should work itself out with time and practice.

Finally there is no dress code, including even in the most upscale restaurant at Hollywood called Final Cut.

The bottom line: the movie-themed Hollywood Casino is a class act and a major new destination for the greater Legend’s community as well as for the Wyandotte County and Kansas tax base.

Let the games begin!

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16 Responses to New Jack City: Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway Lets the Good Times Roll

  1. jon says:

    hollywood casino
    Thanks for the heads up Jack The place sounds great and we’ll be checking it soon. What were the restaurants like?

  2. Super Dave says:

    The Hollywood Casino will be a hit.
    I got to see the casino beforehand and as I have told everyone it the best one in KC. It

  3. Smartman says:

    No Free Booze Will Kill This Place
    Absolute BS and typically Kansan that you have to pay for beer and cocktails. That’s really gonna put a bind on the white trash with cash types that try to drink what they lose as their justification for gambling. They’ll have a nice honeymoon run but when the dust settles and chips fall, the boats on the Missouri side will still own the lions share of the market.

    By 2020 The Legends is Bannister Mall.

  4. Craig Glazer says:

    Nice Job Jack
    I’ve heard only great things about the way its built. Clearly will be the number one Casino for years to come due to location and how nice it is, remember the older casinos are all nearly 20 years old already and need some re-do…the Argosy is the nicest, and its remodling was I thin about 2007…or earlier….Smartman thinks the area will go poor black….no it won’t to much invested and now maybe the largest entertainment,shopping and dinnning in the nation, area wise…too much to offer, Bannister Mall was never anything, just a shopping Mall in the ghetto…by 2020 Legends will be by far the areas’ center…housing, apartments, hotels and even an airport will be added…..its a can’t miss. Up til now violence has been almost zero…no hip hop clubs and none will come, the area is overall white with family blacks and some hispanic, but almost no serious crime in the 6 years Legands has been open…safer than the Plaza….less crime than Oak Park….all Legends needs is more people living in the area and that will happen…like the rest of America its average or slow on weekdays unless there is an event…its a weekend warrior but so is everyone..for now…

  5. James Fenian says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Bannister Mall was never anything, just a shopping Mall in the ghetto

  6. James Fenian says:

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Bannister Mall was never anything, just a shopping Mall in the ghetto

    Bannister Mall was once the lagest and busiest mall in the city
    Yes, Hickman Mills is not Mission Hills but it is far from a ghetto, it has many well kept, attractive, stable neighborhoods

  7. chuck says:

    @ James Fenian
    No dissrespect friend, but I grew up in Ruskin heights and my parents lived there and in Raytown until they died.

    Bannister Mall was indeed the “largest and busiest mall in the city” for a while. That said, the “well kept, attractive, stable neighborhoods” you speak of, were and are, a constantly disintigraitng moving target, based on the exact same variables we have seen all over America for the last 40 years.

    Glazer’s comment, which is actually de facto criterea for success in ANY development that has ANY hope of success,

    “Up til now violence has been almost zero…no hip hop clubs and none will come, the area is overall white with family blacks and some hispanic, but almost no serious crime in the 6 years Legands has been open…safer than the Plaza….”,

    illustrates the reason why South Kansas City was, is and will be a loser for anything but pawn shops, liquor stores, nail shops and hair dressers for the foreseeable future.

  8. snappietom says:

    50 50 at best odds
    Way too many restaurants come and go, They just don’t have enough customers during the week. Hotels are not running the occupancy that they had planned on. Great Wolf Lodge is in default as we speak. Just not enough going on Monday – Thursday for the area to pay for itself. Glazer has a vested interest in the area due to his club. He might as well run for mayor of Village West.

    I remember when the Woodlands was the greatest thing when they opened. Then over time it died. Unless they get more people living out there and some type of pubic transportation to get workers to their jobs, I’m 50 50 at best on this area being successful in the long haul.

  9. Craig Glazer says:

    Snappletom Points Well Taken BUT
    Legends area is already more than six years old and still GROWING, both in business openings, complex’s opening a casino opening, and hotels, apartments and homes on the way….NO AREA HAS built this much entertainment and shopping in KC or midwest history, never been done, nothing close, nothing…this is a NATIONAL deal, meaning will and does bring in out of town people, nothing else we have does, remember the PLAZA has always been virtually unkown nationally, due to no pormotion outside of KC, none…sadly…I love it myself…

    There is a 2 billion investment in this entertainment complex and yes now weekdays are not great, but they aren’t great most anywhere these days…the future is bright for the KCK monster….it is still 3-5 years from hitting paydirt…then, LOOK OUT…it will be the center of KC, like it or not….and we in Johnson don’t really like that, but hey, it keeps all the future traffic out there and its still fairly close for events and entertainment when needed…its not yet a winner, but likely it will be….its our BEST BET…downtown failed before it started and is a huge, huge loser with no upside, NONE. It is the area with no population NONE, no stores, shops or restaurants that matter, not even a quick trip, in time thats will go ghetto plus….it has no shot…the area is still a downer with NOBODY even thinking of moving there for any reason…dumb idea…KCK has been well placed, takes time to build a new city and thats what is being done.

  10. James Fenian says:

    >>>>That said, the “well kept, attractive, stable neighborhoods” you speak of, were and are, a constantly disintigraitng moving target, based on the exact same variables we have seen all over America for the last 40 years.

  11. James Fenian says:

    >>>>That said, the “well kept, attractive, stable neighborhoods” you speak of, were and are, a constantly disintigraitng moving target, based on the exact same variables we have seen all over America for the last 40 years.

    Many apartment complexes in the area would fit this bill but many neighborhoods in Hickman Mills remain safe and stable, St Catherines, Royal Oaks, Rail Haven, Terrace Lake, Crestline, Birchwood, Southern Hills are very good areas for first time home buyers.
    I’ve lived here over 50 years, if I felt unsafe I would move.
    I work in JoCo and have people who have never set foot in my neighborhood telling me all about what my neighborhood is like.

    We don’t have the Outback Steakhouse and the Costco and Target, but we do have good neighbors and strong freindships and people who know and look out for each other, black and white

  12. charles lowe says:

    Ok, God bless ya…
    🙂

    I did go to St. Catherines btw.

  13. expat says:

    It was only a matter of time until the sleeze followed white people out to Kansas to try and get their dollars.

  14. harley says:

    glaze..whats up with improv?
    i was reading the pitch/ink and noticed they had pauly shore and slayton at their place.
    Saw their lineup in february and it was very stroing. I thought you had a lock on
    those comics in this town…how come they are going to improv?
    I remember the manager of the improv saying that because they are part of
    national chain that the big comics have to go there or they are blackballed from
    all their clubs.
    I hope they’re not hurting you because they do have a pretty nice lineup of comcs
    coming in in feband march…whats up with this ?

  15. Tom Norton says:

    In Hickman Mills the school arent so great anymore, the area in general is still fairly nice, been here since 1970
    The area is still majority white, about 60-40, contrary to public preception

  16. snappietom says:

    Glaze Rebuttal
    Glaze, its easy to build something when you get TIF money or tax abatements. I bet Nebraska Furniture Mart pays next to nothing in property taxes. Those countless other small businesses like the restaurants are going out of business as fast as they open. The hotels that are there are squeaking by on weekends and June-August summertime travel. Not good.

    They have got to build houses, have amenites and get people to work. KCK government has gotten drunk off the Speedway and has lost its foucus. It’s not sexy to talk about the above. Have you been down on Minnesota Ave lately? Just a block over from the KCK police station, you could catch a knife in the ass and mugged. That area is dangerous.

    Your other points are well -taken, however, on the Missouri side we have a major investment in the convention center, sprint arena, the new preforming arts center. Etc…. We need our convention business to pick up. And when it does improve, it won’t go to Village West, it’s to far and there is no way to get there. (see struggling OP Convention Center) Been to a Gun & Knife or Starving Artis show lately?) They never should have built it. Jump on board the downtown bandwagon Glaze.

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