Boyd Gaming selling Dania Jai-Alai


TheSouthFloridaRacingJournal

Boyd Gaming selling Dania Jai-Alai for
$80M

Sheldon Glass, 05.02.11,
12:55 PM EDT

LAS VEGAS —
Casino operator Boyd Gaming Corp. announced Monday that it has signed an
agreement to sell its 5,600-seat Dania Jai-Alai arena in Florida for $80 million
to a group of private investors.

Boyd
Gaming
( BYD
news people ) bought the entertainment
and gambling venue in Dania Beach in South Florida from an investor group in
2007’s first quarter for $152.5 million and had planned to expand it. But it
recorded an $84 million charge on its books to reflect the property’s decline in
value a little over a year later as the company faced new competition in the
region from a Native American casino and other venues.

Boyd Gaming
expects to complete the all-cash sale to Dania Entertainment Center LLC by Sept.
26. Dania Entertainment is controlled by private investors, Boyd
said.

Keith Smith, the
president and CEO of Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming, said it determined Dania
Jai-Alai “no longer fits our current growth strategy.”

The game of
Jai-alai, which originated in Europe in the 18th century, is played with a
fast-moving hard rubber ball in a court with a front wall made of granite. Its
popularity peaked in the 1960s and 1970s, especially in Florida, as a betting
game played by professional players and a wagering alternative to horse and dog
racing. Competition from Indian casinos has hurt jai-alai in recent
years.

Danai Jai-Alai was the first foray into Florida for Boyd
Gaming, which renovated the facility and turned it into a multipurpose gambling
venue with a gaming floor, poker room, restaurants and entertainment
lounges.

Boyd Gaming owns
and operates 16 gaming properties in Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Illinois,
Indiana and Louisiana. Its shares rose 6 cents to $9 in early afternoon trading
Monday.

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