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Pinnacle Cancels Plans for Louisiana Project

pinnacle_logo_lrOne of the biggest names in casino gaming Pinnacle gaming cancels plans to build it’s new super casino “Sugarcane Bay” They will still continue to operate one of their namesake casinos in L” Auberge Du Lac. Since the resignation of the companies CEO in the past year the company has continued to scale back the development side of their industry.

LAKE CHARLES, Louisiana — Pinnacle Entertainment canceled plans Thursday to build the Sugarcane Bay casino addition to its Lake Charles, La., resort, saying that it will surrender the related gaming license to state casino regulators.

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Shreveport, Monroe Inspire “True Blood” Fans

true-bloodWhile places further in Southern Louisiana, especially New Orleans, are known more for their famous ‘vampire lore” it is Shreveport and Monroe, that is receiving a nice boost in recognition due to the popular HBO show, True Blood, drives people to these cities looking for Bon Temps from the show.

For a tiny pocket of a place, Bon Temps is a mighty interesting corner of Louisiana. It’s got a country bar, old farmhouses and at least one sweet telepathic barmaid with Southern manners and a sense of hospitality no matter how strange the company.
And it’s got vampires.

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A Grand Day: Fair Grounds To Open Slots Facility, Racing Season

NEW ORLEANS, La. (November 12, 2008) – They’ve been racing horses on this site for a century and a half, but Friday will rank among the biggest days in the storied history of Fair Grounds. Not only will the track embark on its winter racing season – two weeks earlier than in recent years – but it will officially open its new slot-machine gaming facility.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the slots facility gets underway at 8:30 a.m. Friday, in time for the doors to open at 9. The first race will leave the gate at 12:30 p.m. An invitation-only VIP party in the evening rounds out Opening Day.

More than just brick and mortar is new as the nation’s third-oldest track counts down to its 137th season.

Austin Miller, who has been at Fair Grounds since last summer, was promoted to president last month.

“Fair Grounds is one of the jewels in the crown that is the sports scene of New Orleans,” Miller said. “With the start of a new racing season and the opening of our new slots facility, we begin the next chapter and take a more prominent place in our city’s sports and entertainment landscape.”

Two other key figures also begin new roles. Vice president and general manager of racing Eric Halstrom joined the Fair Grounds team last week, while Louisiana native Jason Boulet begins his first season as Fair Grounds’ racing secretary.

After operating with as many as 250 slot machines for the past 14 months, the new facility can hold up to 700 machines. It opens with slightly more than 600.

The 33,000-square-foot expansion also features a 120-seat Grandstand Buffet on the second floor, which will be open for lunch and dinner daily; two eateries and a bar adjacent to the gaming floor; a high-limit slots area, and two VIP rooms, one each for slots and horse racing customers.

In conjunction with the opening of the slots facility, dark day and evening simulcasting will relocate to the east end of the grandstand. It has been in the west grandstand since May 2007.

The earlier start to the meet is a direct result of the enhanced purse pool because of alternative gaming. Instead of adding weekdays within the previous 18-week structure, track and Churchill Downs Incorporated management decided to expand the schedule by two weekends.

With the opening of the slots facility, an additional entrance for slots customers was created near Gentilly Boulevard. The valet parking entrance has also been restored. Along with the entrances at each end of the track apron, customers and horsemen now have five ways to enter the facility.

Fair Grounds will offer live racing Thursday through Sunday (except Nov. 20, Christmas, Feb. 26 and March 26) and add Mondays from Dec. 22 through Feb. 23. The track will also race on New Year’s Eve and Mardi Gras (Feb. 24).

The slots facility is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m.-midnight.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds’ 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

FACTS ABOUT SLOTS AT FAIR GROUNDS
 
Facility Grand Opening: November 14, 2008

Hours of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m.-midnight

Location/Dimensions: 33,000-square-foot facility located adjacent to grandstand on southeast corner of property

Cost of Slots Project: $30 million

Number of Machines: Up to 700

Denominations: Range from penny to $5; largest number of low-denomination (nickel or less) games in New Orleans market

Manufacturers: Aristocrat, Bally, IGT, Konami, Williams

New Customer Amenities: High limit slots area, slots VIP lounge, horse racing VIP gold room, new simulcasting area on east end of grandstand

New Food and Beverage Areas: Grandstand Buffet located on second floor (open for lunch and dinner daily), two “grab-and-go” style eateries (Gentilly Grill, DeSaix Deli) and bar (Twin Spires Tavern) adjacent to gaming floor

Number of Employees: 820 (650 at Fair Grounds, including 180 in slots facility; 170 at nine off-track betting facilities in southeast Louisiana)

MANY WILL BENEFIT

18% is contributed to purses and breeders’ funds for Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing.

Up to 22.5% of the remaining money goes to state and city taxes

Of the state’s share, the following will directly benefit:

City Park
Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation
Algiers Economic Development Foundation
New Orleans Urban Tourism & Hospitality Training and Economic Development Foundation
New Orleans Beautification Project
Friends of NORD
Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District  

SLOTS TIMELINE
 
May 2003 – Louisiana Legislature passes a bill allowing slots at Fair Grounds, if approved by voters in Orleans Parish.
Oct. 4, 2003 – Orleans Parish voters pass a referendum allowing slots at the track, with 58 percent voting “yes.”
Oct. 14, 2004 – Churchill Downs Incorporated (CDI) purchases Fair Grounds and related interests from Krantz family.
April 19, 2005 – CDI receives license to operate slot machines at Fair Grounds from Louisiana Gaming Control Board.
June 16, 2005 – New Orleans City Council approves Fair Grounds’ plans to operate slots facility, including construction of permanent facility. The goal is to open the permanent facility in late 2006.
Aug. 22, 2005 – Test pilings for the permanent facility are driven.
Aug. 29, 2005 – Hurricane Katrina forces Fair Grounds to move its 2005-06 racing season to Louisiana Downs and temporarily halts slots plans.
Nov. 23, 2006 – Racing returns to New Orleans as Fair Grounds opens its 135th season in front of a crowd of 8,732.
Feb. 14, 2007 – Fair Grounds and CDI announce plans to move forward with slot machine gaming and begin approval process for temporary facility.
Sept. 19, 2007 – Temporary slots facility opens with up to 250 machines.
Nov. 14, 2008 – Grand opening of permanent slots facility, which features up to 700 machines.

Fair Grounds Set to Begin Transition to New Slots Facility

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The final steps toward the opening of Fair Grounds’ new slot-machine gaming facility later this month will begin in less than 48 hours. The temporary facility, which has been in operation since September 2007, will close its doors at midnight Sunday. Beginning Monday, the 250 machines from the temporary facility will be moved into the new facility, which is about 100 yards away.

The grand opening of the new facility is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 14. The Louisiana Gaming Control Board approved the opening of the facility at its October meeting, but other regulatory agencies, including the Louisiana State Police’s Gaming Division, must give approval before the new facility can open.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds’ 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

One Month and Counting to New Slots Facility, Racing Season at Fair Grounds

comijng_soon.jpgNEW ORLEANS, La. (October 14, 2008) – Tuesday marks exactly one month until one of the biggest days in Fair Grounds’ storied history. On Friday, Nov. 14, Fair Grounds will hold a morning ribbon-cutting as it unveils its new slot-machine gaming facility. That afternoon, the track will embark on its 137th season of Thoroughbred racing. Grand Opening Day will conclude with a VIP party in the evening.

While the temporary slots facility continues to operate, the final touches are being placed on the permanent facility, which will feature up to 700 games on a 15,000-square-foot floor, a 140-seat buffet and two “grab-and-go” dining options.

The new slots facility is on the southeast side of the property, near the public entrance at Gentilly Boulevard.

The racetrack has served as a training center for the last month. The backstretch will officially open Wednesday to those who will be stabled here this winter.

This year’s meet will feature record overnight purses of approximately $300,000 per day and a $6.6 million stakes schedule, headlined as always by the Grade II Louisiana Derby, which is scheduled for March 14, 2009.

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, the nation’s third-oldest Thoroughbred racing facility, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. Fair Grounds’ 137th Thoroughbred season will run from Nov. 14, 2008, through March 29, 2009, and its inaugural Quarter Horse meet was conducted from Aug. 20-24, 2008. Information about Fair Grounds can be found on the Internet at www.fairgroundsracecourse.com.

Inaugural quarter horse meet begins today at Fair Grounds

fairgrounds.jpgFair Grounds Race Track & Slots in New Orleans today will launch its inaugural quarter horse racing meet.

The five-day meet will run through Sunday. Ten races are on the card for each day.

The maximum of 98 horses were entered in today’s race.

Fair Grounds is one of four tracks owned by Louisville-based Churchill Downs Inc.

The Louisiana track operates a slot-machine gaming facility and nine off-track betting parlors in southeastern Louisiana. Fair Grounds’ thoroughbred racing season will run from Nov. 14 to March 29.