08/13/2009 12:00AM

Indian tribe named as Remington bidder


Magna Entertainment Corp., the bankrupt racetrack owner and operator, has identified a company owned by the Chickasaw Nation, an Oklahoma Native American tribe, as the leading bidder for its Remington Park in Oklahoma City, according to documents the company filed in bankruptcy court.

Global Gaming RP Group, a company owned by the Chickasaw, has offered $80.25 million for Remington, a mixed-breed racetrack that also operates 700 slot machines, according to the court filings. Magna said in the court filing that of three "definitive bids" the company received for Remington over the past month, Global Gaming's proposal was "worth pursuing as a stalking horse."

The Chickasaw offer for Remington is the first and only bid identified so far by Magna for one of its properties, though Chickasaw officials said Thursday that they had also submitted a bid for another Magna track, Lone Star Park in Texas. Magna filed for bankruptcy in March after suffering hundreds of millions of dollars in losses over the last six years, and it is currently seeking to reorganize by selling off five of its properties in an auction process approved by the court.

Under the rules proposed by Magna for selling its tracks, other bidders will be allowed to match or exceed the bid by Global Gaming at an auction in New York on Sept. 8. Magna did not identify the other entities that had submitted definitive bids in its court filing.

The Chickasaw Nation already owns 17 gambling properties in Oklahoma, according to Global Gaming's chief executive, John Elliott. Remington will continue to operate as a racetrack if Global Gaming's bid for the track is successful, Elliott said.

"Horse racing is a big part of the economy of Oklahoma, and we have a very significant interest in retaining that impact," Elliott said.

Remington Park's main source of revenue is its slot machines, which last year generated income of

$68.2 million, according to Magna, at an average of $267 in net win per machine per day. The company is authorized to add 50 more slot machines in 2010.

In addition to Remington, Magna is seeking buyers for Santa Anita Park in Southern California, Lone Star Park near Dallas, Thistledown near Cleveland, and Portland Meadows in Oregon. Magna's parent company, MI Developments, is its largest creditor, and is owed $371 million. Magna will need to pay down a substantial portion of that debt to emerge from bankruptcy.

Elliott confirmed that Global Gaming had also submitted a bid for Lone Star, though he declined to provide details about the bid. The company has not heard back from Magna on the status of the bid for Lone Star, Elliott said.