OTB To Bring Jobs and New Revenue to Acadia Parish.
November 22, 2004
For Immediate Release
OTB To Bring Jobs and New Revenue to Acadia Parish
Evangeline Downs To Own and Operate Rayne Location
(Rayne, LA.) - Acadia Parish could soon benefit from 15-20 new jobs and revenue from taxes at a proposed OTB facility in Rayne. The facility will be owned and operated by Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino.
Evangeline Downs opened the first OTB facility in Louisiana in 1987 at its Carencro location and was recently re-located to Opelousas, Louisiana.. The Louisiana Racing Commission grants each racetrack in the state the right to open satellite facilities within a 55-mile radius of its home track.
"After meeting with new management and Steve Croxton of Jefferies &
Co., the Commission granted The Old Evangeline Downs, L.L.C. an OTB license. It was felt that Evangeline Downs met the criteria for the license," said Bobby Dupre, Louisiana State Racing Commissioner from Opelousas.
At OTB facilities, patrons can bet on horse races from Evangeline Downs and other racetracks throughout the United States in what is know as simulcast wagering. Patrons watch and wager on races "live." The Kentucky Derby, other Triple Crown races and the Breeders' Cup Championship races can be watched and wagered on just as if a patron were there.
OTB wagering has become the lifeblood of the racing industry. The evening race card offered by Evangeline Downs is popular with patrons. Nearly 93% of all money bet (handle) on racing at Evangeline Downs comes from OTB locations throughout Louisiana and the U.S.
A recent analysis of Evangeline Downs' racing patrons showed that a large portion of those fans come from the rural parishes surrounding the track. That is due in part to the concentration of horse breeders and trainers in rural locations. Family, friends, and owners have a special connection to the horses being raised, trained and raced from the area.
"Evangeline Downs has been very successful for our company, employees and residents of St Landry Parish," said Jonathan Swain, Chief Operating Officer for Peninsula Gaming, LLC. "We look forward to opening live racing in February of 2005 at the new facility and the opening of our Rayne OTB facility."
Acadiana is also steeped in a rich history in horse racing. Evangeline Downs opened in 1966 in Carencro and was born from a cultural phenomenon of racing at "bush tracks." Evangeline Downs has been the birthplace of today's top jockeys: Kent Desormeaux, Eddie Delahoussaye, Randy Romero, Shane Sellers and many more.
With the advent of slots at the racetrack in Louisiana, purses (money won by racehorses) have risen dramatically. The impact on the local economy has been immediate and very positive. Evangeline Downs purses have doubled in the last year since its Casino opened last December. A six-week quarter horse meet, the first in more than 20 years, just concluded at Evangeline Downs. More investors are purchasing racehorses and the breeding industry in undergoing a boom not seen for decades.
St. Landry Parish and surrounding parishes have seen a direct benefit in increased property values and the location of several major businesses to the area. Businesses, including restaurant and retail locations, have cited a direct impact on increased revenues as a result of the new facility in Opelousas.
The business of racing and wagering, governed by the Louisiana Racing Commission, is a highly regulated industry. The horse industry has a $1.6 billion direct impact on the Louisiana economy. The growth of the racing industry as a result of slots at the track has inspired economic development officials to view the horse industry as a viable, clean industry for the state. It has been shown that it has a positive, direct impact on the overall horse industry in the state. New efforts are being focused on its retention and growth at the local and state level.
On November 9, the Legal Committee of the Acadia Parish Police Jury unanimously approved that the item be placed on the Acadia Parish Police Jury's agenda on November 16. The Acadian Parish Policy Jury votes on November 23 to take the issue to a vote of the people. Once the Police Jury takes action, the issue will be placed on a January 15 ballot for a Parish-wide vote.
Contact: Allen Bares, 337.234.5025, firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Calzone/CEO, Calzone & Associates
337.235.2924 Ext. 3, email@example.com