August 28, 2014

Chickasaw Nation finalizes purchase of Texas track

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – An almost three-year quest by a subsidiary of the Ada-based Chickasaw Nation ended Monday when it signed the final documents to take ownership of Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Global Gaming LSP LLC paid $47.8 million for the horse racing track, whose former owner, Magna Entertainment Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2009. The Texas Racing Commission approved the transfer of ownership during a meeting in Austin on Friday.

It's the second track bought by a group affiliated with Global Gaming Solutions LLC, which is owned by the Chickasaws. The tribe's gaming arm also bought Remington Park in Oklahoma City for $80.25 million, having taken possession of that track in January 2010, and since has spent more than $15 million to refurbish the aging facility. Patrons responded, as Remington Park set an attendance record in 2010, drawing 1,756,616 fans.

Global Gaming CEO John Elliott told The Associated Press he's relieved the purchase of Lone Star Park – which hosted the Breeders' Cup races in 2004 – is finally complete.

“We're excited to focus efforts on re-establishing the success of Lone Star Park as a modern, multifaceted sports and entertainment venue,” Elliott said.

Elliott said Global Gaming Solutions first tried to buy Lone Star Park in September 2008, but that didn't work. When Magna Entertainment declared bankruptcy, Global Gaming Solutions made another run at the purchase and made what appeared to be a winning bid of $27 million. But a U.S. bankruptcy judge in Delaware ordered a second auction, ruling that an affiliate of Penn National Gaming Inc. had been wrongfully excluded from the bidding.

Global Gaming Solutions won the second round of bidding with the $47.8 million bid.

Under Texas law, racetracks can be held by either a public company or Texas residents of at least 10 years who are U.S. citizens. Racing Partners of Texas, of which Ricky Knox is the principal, has a 51 percent interest in Global Gaming LSP, while Global Gaming Solutions has a 49 percent stake.

Major decisions would require mutual consent between Knox and Global Gaming Solutions, Elliott said, and efforts will be made to add up to five more Texans to Knox's group.

Unlike Oklahoma, where the tribe operates two major freestanding casinos in addition to the casino at Remington Park, Texas does not allow casino gaming.

Elliott said “we will support the Texas horsemen in whatever direction they desire to go” regarding any push to change that state's casino law.

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