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Arnold M. Knightly

Ex-Mandalay boss loses out on Kansas casino bid

19 August 2009

LAS VEGAS, Nevada –- A proposal by former Mandalay Resort Group executive Mike Ensign to operate a casino in Kansas has seemingly ended.

The Wichita Eagle reported that the Kansas Lottery accepted bids for a planned casino in Sumner County by Minnesota-based Lakes Entertainment and the Foxwoods Development Co.

Ensign's Prairie Sky casino proposal for Sumner County won't be sent to the state's casino review board for consideration, according to lottery officials.

The lottery commission will vote today on contracts negotiated with the two other casino applicants for the county. If approved, the contracts will be sent to the review board, which will choose one applicant.

A few weeks ago, lottery officials said they were concerned about Ensign's role in making $96,000 in payments to the family of a woman who had an affair with Ensign's son, Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.

Lottery executive director Ed Van Petten, the lottery's executive director, said the issue didn't play a role in the termination.

"That's not an issue to us at all. There hasn't been any allegation of wrongdoing at all," he said.

The Prairie Sky proposal included a casino near the Mulvane exit of the Kansas Turnpike came from a partnership that included Ensign, former Mandalay executive Peter Simon, and Topeka-based developer Equity Ventures.