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Merrillville off-track betting facility closing operations

12 January 2015

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Centaur Gaming announced today that its Merrillville Off-Track Betting (OTB) facility will close operations on Sunday, March 15. The closure is a result of continued business declines from increases in area gaming and entertainment competition as well as a shift in the company’s overall off-track betting business model. Merrillville Off-Track Betting is scheduled to maintain normal business hours and services up until the March close date.

“The decision to close the Merrillville Off-Track Betting facility was given much consideration of its complete impact, not only to our loyal customers and team members but to our host community as well. Unfortunately, diminished business levels have made it no longer viable to maintain an off-track betting operation in the area,” said Jim Brown, Centaur Gaming’s president and chief operating officer.

All Merrillville OTB employees will be provided a company-standard severance package. Where possible, employment in another position within the company will be offered. In addition, professional outplacement services will be used to help with the employment transition of all affected employees.

“Centaur Gaming would much rather be in the position of adding to our workforce right now. However, the growth in online race wagering as well as increases in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan competition have resulted in a decline of more than 50% in the Merrillville OTB’s race wagering over the last 10 years,” Brown continued.

Centaur Gaming is in the process of reinventing the off-track betting experience through the Winner’s Circle Brewpub & OTB concept. Two Winner’s Circle locations are up and running in Indianapolis and Shelbyville with a third scheduled to open on January 24 just outside Fort Wayne in New Haven, Indiana. The new concept completely remakes the traditional off-track betting facility and in its place offers a broader dining and entertainment experience aimed to satisfy both new and loyal guests.

“The Winner’s Circle concept is proving successful with business growth at the flagship Indianapolis Winner’s Circle location and the same positive trends being seen in just the first six months of operation at the Winner’s Circle Brewpub & OTB at Indiana Grand Racing & Casino. Although Merrillville is not the right location for the Winner’s Circle concept, Centaur Gaming would be interested in adding to the Winner’s Circle portfolio in the future if the right Indiana location and opportunity were to present itself,” Brown added.

Originally named Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum, the Merrillville Off-Track Betting facility opened for business at 7610 Broadway in January 1995 and employs a staff of 33. The facility was renamed Merrillville Off-Track Betting in 2008 with Centaur Gaming’s purchase of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana.

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