Indiana casino owner preparing to exit bankruptcy

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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