FRENCH LICK, IN-Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts will be the one to build and operate a riverboat casino here in the south central portion of the state, the Indiana Gaming Commission decided this week. Construction on Indiana’s eleventh casino will begin later this year. The projected opening date is early 2006. Publicly traded THCR submitted its $123.5-million proposal in April. THCR beat out Orange County Development LLC, a group that includes NBA legend Larry Bird, and Lost River Development LLC, which is affiliated with the France-based casino operator Groupe Tranchant.In all proposals, the casino was to sit on a manmade waterway running between the French Lick Springs Resort & Spa and the West Baden Springs Hotel. The Trump Hotels plan calls for a casino with 1,000 slot machines, 30 traditional gaming tables, two eateries and a 90-seat entertainment lounge. In addition, the Trump Hotels proposal calls for the purchase a restoration of the historic West Baden Springs Hotel and ongoing financial support for upgrades to additional area landmarks including the French Lick Springs Resort and Spa and the Indiana Railway Museum. Trump has operated one other casino in Indiana, in the City of Gary, since 1996.Lost River Development proposed a $40-million development with a nautical theme that, like the Trump plan, included the purchase of the West Baden Springs Hotel. The hotel is owned by the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana and has been partially renovated at a cost of about $30 million. Orange County Development’s plan, which did not necessarily include the hotel, proposed 1,200 slot machines, up to 24 table games, three restaurants, a 600-seat showroom and a Larry Bird Museum. French Lick is located in Orange County, between Indianapolis and Louisville, KY. It encompasses the towns of French Lick, Orleans, Paoli and West Baden. After the Indiana General Assembly approved the license in 2003, Orange County voters confirmed it with a referendum vote in the November election. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, which in February reported a fourth quarter net loss of $40.9 million, is currently negotiating with DLJ Merchant Banking Partners III LP, an affiliate of Credit Suisse First Boston, toward a $400-million recapitalization that would substantially de-leverage the company and make DLJMB the majority shareholder. Donald Trump would continue on a chairman.

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