Kansas Star Casino to receive $19M refund following court ruling on property’s tax assessment

After a protracted legal battle between Sumner County, the City of Mulvane, and Boyd Gaming, the operator of the Kansas Star Casino, a state court decision has mandated a reimbursement of over $19 million to the gambling venue due to alleged overpaid property taxes dating back to 2014.

The disagreements revolved around the casino’s property valuation and subsequent tax obligations, with Boyd Gaming repeatedly contesting the assessed value and tax responsibilities since the casino’s establishment. The recent court ruling favors Boyd Gaming, asserting that the casino had been overtaxed and mandating the refund. 

It’s positive that we know what to expect. Instead of waiting for a judgment to come out, we know what we’re paying,” said Austin St. John, Mulvane’s City Manager. “We know for the next five years our valuation is going to be correct.”

The valuation discrepancies originated from varying assessments. Initially valued at $225 million by the Sumner County Assessor in 2012, the valuation was later reduced to $175 million after Boyd Gaming’s appeal. However, the casino operator persisted in contesting the valuation, asserting the property’s actual worth was approximately $75 million, significantly less than the assessed value.

To address the ongoing discord, an agreement was reached stipulating that the casino’s assessed value remains at $102 million for 2023 and the ensuing four years. As part of the resolution, Boyd Gaming will be reimbursed $19 million over the next four years, with the City of Mulvane, the school district, and Sumner County splitting the tax return.

Boyd Gaming, in a reciprocal gesture for the resolution, has agreed to waive any interest on the $19 million refund, a decision that could have substantially augmented the total reimbursement. Additionally, Boyd has also agreed to forfeit the right to challenge the $102 million assessment during the four-year agreement.

The Kansas Star Casino offers 1,300 slot machines, 43 table games, a FanDuel Sportsbook, a 300-guest room hotel, three full-service restaurants, and the Kansas Star Arena accommodating up to 3,400 attendees.

Beyond property taxes, the casino contributes to tax revenues through sales and gaming taxes, financial streams impacting both state and local governments. In October, the casino reported gross gaming revenue of $12.8 million, contributing to the county about $386,300 with its 3% collection, and the state’s 22% share amounting to $2.8 million.

Furthermore, the state designates 2% of the casino’s revenue to its problem gambling fund, while the casino retains the majority share of 73%.