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Miami Jai Alai files for bankruptcy in attempt to avoid foreclosure

Miami Jai Alai@Doug_Hanks

Less than two years after opening a casino, the Miami Jai-Alai facility filed for bankruptcy protection as its parent company fends off a foreclosure from the holder of an $87 million loan.

In a stock filing Monday night, Florida Gaming Corp. disclosed the Chapter 11 filing, saying the terms of a pending sale would essentially wipe out the company.

Last year, Florida Gaming agreed to sell itself to a New York-based casino company, Silver Entertainment.

The price, including debt: $115 million. But Florida Gaming’s agreement with lenders requires it to pay out $114 million at the time of the sale, plus a penalty based on how many slot machines its rival at the Hialeah Park racetrack managed to get approved and operational.

Hialeah Park opened its casino last week with 882 slot machines, and that means an additional $6 million toward lenders, according to Florida Gaming’s securities filing.

The bankruptcy filing is the latest twist in a messy fight involving the aging jai-alai fronton’s effort to become a thriving casino. More here.