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Racino Opens, But Work Still Left

22 November 2004

Las Vegas Sun

OPELOUSAS, Louisiana -- Off-track bettors get their first sight of new Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Casino today.

The track itself isn't quite finished -- something that had regulators a bit worried last month. But that was last month. Only a tiny bit of work is left, general manager Mike Howard said Sunday.

"The barns are up, the rails and lights are up. It's basically complete," he said.

What's left, he said, is just planting the turf track with rye to hold the dirt in place until turf can be planted next spring, and spreading the final layer of sand on the dirt track.

"The two percent that's left is just minor little stuff," he said.

The racino has had its OTB machines in the casino which opened in December. Today, bettors will go to the new clubhouse.

Since the racing season hasn't started and Mondays can be slow anyway, Howard wasn't sure how many to expect. Perhaps 500 to 700, he said.

Peninsula Gaming LLC, a Delaware corporation headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, considers Evangeline Downs a great long-term investment, Brent Stevens, the company's chairman and chief executive officer of Peninsula, told the casino board last month.

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