Track, Commission Strike Deal on Head Tax

by Hector San Miguel

Delta Downs has worked out a compromise with the Louisiana Racing Commission over payment of a head tax. The issue was resolved at the commission's meeting in New Orleans March 8.

State law requires racetracks to pay the 25-cent head tax for patrons who enter their doors, but Boyd Racing, owner of Delta Downs, contended it doesn't apply to its slot-machine parlor located at the track.

The commission considered pulling the employee licenses of track general manager Jack Bernsmeier and two of his top accounting employees because they have not turned in timely attendance reports. As part of the compromise, the track will supply the reports by April 15.

Boyd Racing will collect the head tax 18 hours per day during the live racing season, except for two days. The collections will only go on during live racing days. Track patrons will also be counted 12 hours a day for tax purposes even if there is no live racing.

The head tax is known as the pari-mutuel tax. It has been used to generate money for racing commission operations. The law requires that any excess revenue be remitted to the state's general fund.

Delta Downs is supposed to install turnstiles at its slots parlor to keep track of how many people enter the casino. The state Gaming Commission regulates the slot-machine facility.