Indiana Grand Casino owners accept bid from Centaur

Central Indiana’s two racetrack-casinos may consolidate under a single owner after Indianapolis-based Centaur Holdings LLC submitted a winning bid of at least $500 million for Indiana Grand Casino in Shelbyville.

Centaur informed its employees at Hoosier Park in Anderson on Tuesday morning that Indiana Grand’s owners had accepted the bid, General Counsel John Keeler said. Now it will be up to a Delaware bankruptcy court judge, as well as state and federal gaming regulators, to approve the sale.

“Obviously, we hope we can grow these properties, both of them,” Keeler said. “It’s our intention to maintain the same, what we believe to be, quality of racing, gaming and entertainment in Anderson and bring that to Shelbyville as well.”

Indiana Grand owner Indianapolis Downs LLC has been in bankruptcy since April 2011, and has gone through a number of fits and starts in trying to recapitalize the business, or sell the assets. The final auction was held Friday in the New York offices of Indianapolis Downs’ law firm, and Centaur was the only qualified bidder, Keeler said.

Keeler would not disclose Centaur’s actual bid, but according to bankruptcy court filings, the minimum qualifying bid was $500 million.

Indianapolis Downs likely will file a motion for approval of the sale this week, Keeler said. That will begin what’s likely to be a long approval process, both in court and before state regulators.

While Hoosier Park also reorganized through bankruptcy court, Indiana has never dealt with the transfer of a racino license, Keeler noted.

Indianapolis Downs’ major creditors have pushed for resolution of the case, but Keeler said he’s not sure where each of them stands on the sale to Centaur.

One of the creditors is Indianapolis Downs shareholder Ross Mangano, a South Bend businessman who’s also expressed an interest in acquiring the property through bankruptcy.

“Anybody that’s got a stake in the case has the right and the opportunity to object,” Keeler said.

Hoosier Park and Indiana Downs host the state's only pari-mutuel horse racing tracks and both opened casinos within a nine-month span in 2008 and 2009. The $250 million state casino licensing fee that each one paid, coupled with the onset of the recession in 2009, helped trigger bankruptcy at both racinos.

A 2011 state law allowing a single company to own two Indiana pari-mutuel tracks opened the door for Centaur to make a bid for the Shelbyville operation.



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