Louisiana Downs Slots Revenue Already in Millions

by Hector San Miguel

The racino at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City, La., took in more than $2.6 million in revenue in its first 11 days of operation, according to figures released by the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. The 905 slot machines went online May 21.

The slots generated $394,927 for purses at Louisiana Downs, which opens for live racing June 27. By law, 15% of gross slots revenue goes to purses.

The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders' Association received $52,657 in revenue from the slots, while the Louisiana Quarter Horse Breeders' Association earned $26,328. The track is required to give 2% gross revenue to the LTBA, and 1% to the LQHBA.

Louisiana Downs generated $4 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2003 and $800,000 in losses from operations, according to a quarterly report filed by Harrah's Entertainment, which purchased the track last December for $85.2 million. It has 95% ownership interest in a company that owns the track and a riverboat casino in nearby Shreveport.

The report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission states Harrah's plans to open a permanent slots parlor with about 1,500 slot machines by June 2004. "We plan to install slot machines at the racetrack and expand and renovate the entertainment facility, which will be the only land-based gaming facility in northwestern Louisiana," Harrah's officials said.

The Louisiana Downs racino competes with five riverboat casinos in the Shreveport-Bossier City gaming market. Harrah's also operates two riverboat casinos in Lake Charles, La., and a land-based casino in New Orleans.

Meanwhile, the Delta Downs racino in Vinton, La., took in $11.4 million in revenue in May. State revenue records show the track's slot machines have generated $170.7 million in gross revenues in 15 months of operation. The slots have generated $25.6 million in purse money during that period.