Fair Grounds Hopes to Resolve Bankruptcy Issues; FAQ on Web Site

Fair Grounds Race Course is in discussions with the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association in an effort to resolve issues that led the New Orleans, La., track to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

According to answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" posted on the Fair Grounds' Web site, the track is currently involved in discussions with horsemen and is also finalizing a reorganization plan as part of the bankruptcy.

The 2003-2004 Fair Grounds meet begins on Thanksgiving Day.

In the FAQ section of the Web site, Fair Grounds said it is moving forward with plans to implement slot machine gaming at the track. Among the steps necessary before slots can begin are approvals from the city planning commission and city council over issues dealing with the neighborhood in which the track is located.

Fair Grounds filed for bankruptcy after a judge ruled in favor of the horsemen's organization in a lawsuit over video poker revenues. Fair Grounds president Bryan Krantz said the track the bankruptcy filing was necessary because the more than $100-million amount of the court judgment exceeded the track's value.

Under state law, tracks are required to pay 50% of their net video poker profits to horsemen after deductions. The lawsuit claimed that that the tracks and state police, the agency that collects the video poker funds, improperly allowed five deductions before splitting revenues with horsemen.

A state judge initially ruled in favor of the horsemen, but an appeals court ruled in favor of the tracks. In April of this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered state district court judge to reconsider the 1994 lawsuit filed by the Louisiana HBPA.

The state's other tracks with video poker -- Louisiana Downs, Evangeline Downs, and Delta Downs -- settled with horsemen.

Access the Frequently Asked Questions on the Fair Grounds Web Site