The Majestic Star Casino, LLC

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The Majestic Star Casino, LLC
Gary, Indiana
HeadquartersLas Vegas, Nevada
Key people
Don H. Barden, Founder
OwnerWayzata Investment Partners and others

The Majestic Star Casino, LLC is a gaming holding company founded in Gary, Indiana by Don H. Barden and currently based in Las Vegas, Nevada.


The company was formed on December 8, 1993.

Started operation in Gary on June 7, 1996.

In December 2001, Majestic Star made its first expansion beyond Gary, acquiring three Fitzgeralds casinos from bankrupt Fitzgeralds Gaming for $149 million, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Black Hawk, Colorado, and Tunica, Mississippi.[1] Chief operating officer Michael Kelly, a former Fitzgeralds executive, engineered the deal.[2]

In April 2005, Majestic Star was selected to operate the casino at the French Lick Resort in French Lick, Indiana, being developed by a partnership of Lauth Property Group and the Cook Group.[3] However, the Cook-Lauth partnership eventually decided to form its own casino management team, and Majestic's involvement ended amiably in September of that year.[4]

After Barden led an effort to legalize gambling in Pennsylvania, Majestic Star was awarded the only gaming license for Pittsburgh, beating out competing bids from Harrah's and Isle of Capri.[5] Construction began in December 2007 on the $450 million riverfront Majestic Star Casino, which was projected to double the company's yearly revenues to over $1 billion.[5] However, after defaulting on a $200 million bridge loan and failing to pay contractors, Majestic had to hand control in August 2008 to a group led by JMB Realty chairman Neil Bluhm, lead investor in the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia, who bought 75% of the project, and renamed it the Rivers Casino.[6][7] Barden kept his remaining stake in the project outside of the Majestic Star umbrella.[8]

In November 2009, Majestic Star filed for bankruptcy, listing $406 million in assets against $750 million in liabilities.[8] The company cited the recession, increased competition from nearby properties, and a new smoking ban as reasons.[9] In December 2010, Majestic sued Barden, claiming that he changed the company's tax status without notice, costing over $2 million in additional tax liabilities.[10] The company's reorganization plan, filed the following month, would end Barden's ownership interest, while leaving other executives in place.[11] The company left bankruptcy in 2011 under the majority ownership of Wayzata Investment Partners.[12]

In October 2011, several months after Barden's death, his estate sold Fitzgeralds Las Vegas to brothers Derek and Greg Stevens, majority owners of the Golden Gate casino.[13]

In May 2012, Majestic Star agreed to sell Fitzgeralds Black Hawk for $28 million to Saratoga Harness Racing, owner of Saratoga Casino and Raceway in New York.[14] The sale closed in January 2013.[15]




  1. ^ "Detroiter Builds Out-Of-State Casino Empire". Casino City Times. 21 April 2002. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Fitzgeralds in bankruptcy, three casinos being sold". Las Vegas Sun. 6 December 2000. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Cook-Lauth Name Majestic Star Casino For Orange County Project". Inside Indiana Business. 21 April 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  4. ^ "Majestic Star won't operate Orange County casino". Las Vegas Sun. 26 September 2005. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b Hamill, Sean (12 December 2007). "For Casino Owner, Winning a License Was Not a Matter of Luck". New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  6. ^ "Pittsburgh's casino to get new name". Pittsburgh Business Times. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  7. ^ "Pittsburgh Casino Rescue Plan Would Reduce Don Barden's Role". 10 July 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b "Majestic Star Casino files for bankruptcy". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Competition factor in Majestic Star bankruptcy". Casino City Times. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  10. ^ Rochelle, Bill (4 January 2011). "Majestic Star, Milwaukee Archdiocese, Broadstripe: Bankruptcy". Bloomberg. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  11. ^ Tweh, Bowdeya (21 September 2010). "Majestic Star files bankruptcy plan". Times of Northwest Indiana. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  12. ^ Majestic Star owner out of bankruptcy
  13. ^ McGarry, Caitlin (29 October 2011). "Fitzgerald's new owners plan makeover, new name". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  14. ^ Pankratz, Howard (15 May 2012). "Fitzgeralds Black Hawk sold for $28 million to N.Y. company". Denver Post. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  15. ^ Paul Post (January 30, 2013). "Saratoga Harness buys Colorado casino". The Saratogian. Retrieved 2013-01-31.


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