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A joint venture between Indianapolis-based Lauth Property Group and Bloomington's Cook Group, now called Blue Sky Resorts, is proposing a $240 million casino project that would also include the purchase of two historic hotels.

The group has chosen Majestic Star Casino to serve as the operator of the casino.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Cook-Lauth Press Release

(Indianapolis, IN – April 20, 2005) The Majestic Star Casino, LLC, has been selected as the operator for the casino portion of the $240 million development project designed to establish Orange County, Ind. as a premier vacation and tourist destination. Blue Sky Resorts, the joint venture of Indiana companies Lauth Resorts & Casino LLC and Orange County Holdings, Inc., collaborated with Majestic Star to apply to the Indiana Gaming Commission today.

Orange County Holdings, Inc. is a charitable, non-for-profit organization holding the Cook organization’s interest. Lauth Resorts & Casino LLC is an affiliate of Lauth Group, Inc., a national real estate development and construction company with Indianapolis headquarters.

In making the announcement today, Robert L. Lauth, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Lauth Group, said, “Majestic Star is the perfect gaming operator for our project; not only do they have solid gaming management experience, they already have a presence in Indiana where they have successfully managed a riverboat in Gary since June of 1996.”

He added, "Majestic Star will bring to the table a wide range of services including consultation on the casino design, gaming operation, regulatory and compliance oversight, development of budgets and marketing plans, and the hiring and management of frontline and executive staff.”

In addition to its dockside gaming facility in Gary, Majestic Star, a multi-jurisdictional gaming company, directly owns and operates two Fitzgeralds brand casinos located in Tunica Resorts, Mississippi ("Fitzgeralds Casino Hotel Tunica") and Black Hawk, Colorado ("Fitzgeralds Black Hawk"). The Majestic Star also manages a casino hotel located in downtown Las Vegas ("Fitzgeralds Las Vegas"). The Majestic Star and Fitzgeralds properties collectively contain approximately 4,400 slot machines, 120 table games and 1,150 hotel rooms.

Don H. Barden, chairman, CEO and president of The Majestic Star Casino LLC and its affiliates commented, "We are very excited to be a part of this venture and look forward to bringing our gaming expertise to a new gaming market in Orange County. During the past few years, our company has experienced significant growth, and we are pleased to have been chosen as the company with the right gaming experience to manage the casino project. I am thrilled to be a part of a project of this nature because it will no doubt promote economic growth by way of jobs and development for the historic communities of French Lick and West Baden.”

“Adding Majestic Star was the final step in assembling our team for this project,” said Steve Ferguson, Chairman of Cook Group Inc. In a public meeting in French Lick last week, Ferguson described the group’s plans for a destination resort, golf center, casino and conference facility in the historic southwestern Indiana towns of French Lick and West Baden.

The joint venture will undertake a complete makeover of both the French Lick Springs Resort and Spa and the West Baden Springs Hotel. The plan calls for the immediate restoration of the area’s dramatic Donald Ross-designed golf course, with future recreational developments planned over a 10-year period.

With more than 3,000 acres available for additional development, long-term plans include a second championship golf course and world-class instruction academy, plus numerous other amenities aimed at drawing visitors to the secluded, beautiful, historic communities.

Benchmark Hospitality International, one of the nation’s top hotel and conference facility management companies, has been selected to manage the French Lick Springs Resort and Spa.

About Cook Group and CFC

The world's largest privately held medical device manufacturer with international headquarters in Bloomington, Ind., COOK® (www.cookgroup.com) is a leading designer, manufacturer and global distributor of minimally invasive medical device technology for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Cook Group also owns and operates real estate, retail management, and transportation and travel services businesses. Visit www.cookgroup.com for more details.

CFC, a Cook company, is a real estate development and management company with special emphasis on preserving architecturally significant build­ings in Bloomington and south central Indiana. The company works with local business and government officials to help strengthen the community fiber of downtown Bloomington and the surrounding areas through the develop­ment of valuable commercial, office and residential properties.

About Lauth Group

One of the nation's leading privately-held development and construction companies, Lauth has built billions of dollars worth of projects throughout the U.S.

As one of only four general contractors licensed in 49 states, Lauth builds and develops all types of facilities including healthcare, industrial, office and retail projects from offices in Indianapolis, Charlotte, Denver, Nashville and Orlando.

Additional Lauth information is available at www.lauth.net. People. Trust. Experience. (SM)

About Benchmark Hospitality

Benchmark Hospitality International, one of the world’s leading 1ndependent resort and conference center management companies with headquarters in The Woodlands (Houston), Texas, operates resorts, conference centers and hotels both domestically and internationally. The company manages 29 projects in 13 states and Japan, including Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii, Scottsdale Resort and Conference Center in Arizona, The Chattanoogan in Tennessee, Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado, Del Lago Resort in Houston, Landsdowne Resort in Washington, D.C. and the Founders Inn in Virginia Beach, to name a few. The company also operates private conference centers for use by major corporations and foundations.

For locations of Benchmark Hospitality properties and for additional information, visit Benchmark's website at www.benchmarkhospitality.com.

Source: Cook Group, Lauth Property Group

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