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Jai-alai operator Florida Gaming files for bankruptcy

Aug. 20, 2013 at 9:09 AM

MIAMI, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Jai-alai and casino company Florida Gaming said it had filed for bankruptcy protection as terms of its sale would be impossible to meet.

In a stock filing, the company said it would need to come up with $114 million when a deal to sell itself to Silver Entertainment closes. But the price of the sale, including debt, came to $115 million, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

ABC Funding holds the debt, an $87 million loan that was used to add casino gaming to the jai-alai fronton.

That gambit is paying well, the Herald said. Casino revenues reached $19 million in the second quarter and Florida Gaming notched a $4 million operating profit -- albeit, that profit was wiped out by a one-time charge owed to ABC Funding based on the upcoming sale.

On paper, Florida Gaming lost $22 million in the quarter.

The way it adds up, "Miami Jai-Alai is now thriving and is a success by every measure but one: its relationship with its lender," wrote Florida Gaming executive Daniel Licciardi in a court filing.

In addition to the $114 million, Florida Gaming owes lenders a $6 million penalty that covers devaluation of the company based on the number of slot machines a rival business -- the Hialeah Park racetrack -- has operating, the Herald said.

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