Cars and Craps -- by SMM Chief Editorial Writer, Ira Ostenheimer 
Saturday, December 5, 2009, 04:04 PM
Posted by Administrator
It was only a matter of time before someone got the idea of building the ultimate adult playground consisting of a NASCAR facility and a casino all under one roof. I wish I would have thought of it first because I’d love to take credit for it myself but the folks at Kansas Speedway and Penn National Gaming Inc. beat me to the punch and now it appears there will be a Hollywood themed casino opening in 2012, overlooking Kansas Speedway’s Turn 2, which will include a 100,000 square foot casino with capacity for 2,300 slot machines and 86 game tables, a lounge, and a variety of dining and entertainment venues. Future phases include a hotel, expanded gaming space, a spa, a convention center and an entertainment retail district. WOW! It sounds like a combination of Disneyland and the Mall of America for gearheads.

It seems that International Speedway Corp. has been looking to enhance its present offerings to the NASCAR Nation by taking a giant step into the world of casino gambling, hoping that by doing so they’d also be able to score another race date in the “Land of Dorothy”. At this point, it’s unclear what Auntie Em thinks about all of this and whether she’d approve of such truck is still up for discussion. One thing is certain, her neighbors at the Kansas Lottery Facility Gaming Review Board think it’s a good idea and they voted 7-0 in favor just to prove it.

Talk about stacking the deck. Kansas has been lusting after a second race date for years and it appears that ISC has hit on something. The only problem is where is the extra race going to come from? Martinsville, Richmond, Fontana, Dover or Talladega, your guess is as good as mine.

It doesn’t matter which town you choose because the fans who attend the races in that area will be upset if ISC decides to yank the one in their backyard. At this point, the odds makers seem to have their money on Fontana losing one race even though it’s the second largest market in the country. Fan attendance has been spotty at Auto Club Speedway, it’s a long drive from the east and the race dates have not fallen on the best of Southern California weather patterns in recent years. It all comes down to dollars and cents and packing them in twice a year in Kansas sounds a lot better than the potential revenues up for grabs in the L.A. Basin.

The success or failure of such a venture will determine whether this concept amounts to nothing more than an aberration or will it become a trend that will spark similar projects in the future? Many purists are outraged but others like the idea of “Hollywood in the Heartland”. Just remember to give me naming credit and calling a spade a spade when you see it plastered on t-shirts from Kansas City all the way to Goodland.

Auto Club Speedway/Fontana, California
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