Louisiana Downs Opens Expanded Slots Parlor

Harrah's Louisiana Downs opened its new slot-machine casino April 30, with a grand opening tied to the start of live Thoroughbred racing May 14.

The new 50,000-square-foot slots parlor, built as an expansion of the existing grandstand, holds 1,402 machines and has three restaurants and a bar and lounge. Previously, about 900 slots were housed in room on the first floor of the grandstand.

Opening day for live racing will feature a tribute to the late John Franks, a prominent Louisiana owner/breeder. The feature race of the day is the $50,000 John Franks Memorial for state-breds at one mile on the turf course, which has been named in his memory.

The meet continues through Oct. 31 on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule. A Quarter Horse meet will be held from Nov. 11-Dec. 12, also on a Thursday-through-Sunday schedule.

Harrah's Entertainment purchased the Bossier City track in late December of 2002 for about $73 million. The casino company immediately began renovations that included the racing side of the business. At the time of the sale, the total investment--purchase price and improvements--was set at $183 million.