VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — The owner of casinos in Vicksburg, Miss. and Bossier City, La., has filed for bankruptcy and plans to sell its casinos to an Oklahoma Indian tribe.
Legends Gaming filed Monday for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in Shreveport, La. The company plans to sell its DiamondJacks casinos to Global Gaming Solutions for about $27.5 million, if the bankruptcy court and state gaming regulators approves.
Legends has the right, under the sale agreement, to seek other buyers willing to pay more. If multiple bidders emerge, the bankruptcy court could hold an auction.
Global Gaming is owned by the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. The company bought Remington Park Racing and Casino in Oklahoma City in 2010 and bought Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, in 2011. The tribe also owns 13 casinos in Oklahoma's highly competitive Indian casino market.
Though tribes in Louisiana and Mississippi operate casinos outside the state regulatory structure, officials said Global Gaming would be regulated and taxed just like any other non-Indian casino owner.
"They would be subject to the oversight of the State of Mississippi just like DiamondJacks is (now) and all the tax liabilities would be the same," Allen Godfrey, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, told the Vicksburg Post (http://bit.ly/PrWWUg).
Louisiana officials told The Times in Shreveport (http://bit.ly/MD8Trm ) that Global Gaming would face a background investigation like any new casino owner in the state.
In its bankruptcy filing, Legends listed assets between $50 million and $100 million and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. Moody's Investors Service said Legends has as much as $163 million in debt due in 2014.
Legends, which also filed for bankruptcy in 2008 said no workers will be laid off and that the casinos will continue to operate as usual.
"Our team members are essential to our future success, and should see no difference in their jobs," Legends Chairman and CEO William McEnery said in a statement. "We believe that we have found a buyer who will continue DiamondJacks' commitments to the communities in which we operate as well as to its most valued asset, our team members."
DiamondJacks is typically last among Bossier City's five casinos in terms of revenue, according to Louisiana state figures. Mississippi doesn't release revenue figures for individual casinos, but DiamondJacks has the second-largest number of slot machines among Vicksburg's four casinos. A fifth Vicksburg casino, Grand Station, closed in March amid its own bankruptcy.
DiamondJacks employs 364 people at its casino and hotel in Vicksburg, according to Mississippi figures. It employs about 650 people in Bossier City, according to Louisiana figures.
Both properties were the first casino in their respective cities when opened by the Isle of Capri. Vicksburg opened in 1993 while Bossier City opened in 1994. Isle of Capri sold the gambling halls to privately-held Legends in 2006. Legends first filed bankruptcy in 2008 to lower interest rates on $215 million in borrowed to finance the purchases.