Indiana casino owner preparing to exit bankruptcy

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The company that owns Indiana's Hoosier Park casino and horse track expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection in the coming months with about two-thirds less debt.

Hoosier Park President Jim Brown said Indianapolis-based Centaur LLC anticipates having approval from the state casino and horse racing commissions for the reorganization plan within 60 days.

According to the Herald Bulletin of Anderson, the plan would leave Centaur with about $270 million in debt, down from about $906 million when it filed for bankruptcy last year.

The plan received court approval in February.

Brown said Hoosier Park in Anderson has remained a successful business and that it has been largely unaffected by the bankruptcy process.

"Hoosier Park was very successful as a business and casino before the bankruptcy filing and it has remained successful through the entire process," he said. "We really haven't changed anything here that wasn't done with the intent of better serving our customers."

The other horse track and casino in central Indiana — Indiana Live near Shelbyville — also filed for bankruptcy protection in April. Both operations have struggled since borrowing heavily to pay $250 million state licensing fees to add slot machines and other electronic games in 2008.

"That $250 million was a prime reason we had to enter into bankruptcy," Brown said. "It hit us and our customers at a tough time."

Centaur has sold off gambling properties in Colorado and Pennsylvania as part of the bankruptcy settlement.

Centaur's current plan is to concentrate solely on its Indiana sites — Hoosier Park and off-track pari-mutuel betting sites in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Merrillville.

Brown said new attractions are planned for Hoosier Park within a few months of exiting bankruptcy.

"We've got several surprises for our customers that we're getting ready to roll out," he said. "We want to show them that we're thankful for their support through this time."


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  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.