10/26/2001 12:00AM

Delta faces slots challenge


The Louisiana Gaming Control Board will consider granting Delta Downs in Vinton, La., a license to operate slot machines during a special meeting in Baton Rouge, La., on Tuesday. But the track's request will not be heard without opposition, as some area riverboats plan to contest the number of slot machines proposed for operation at Delta Downs.

Boyd Gaming, which owns 11 casino entertainment properties, including the Stardust in Las Vegas, purchased Delta Downs in May, and has proposed 1,709 slot machines be installed at the track.

Some area riverboats contend that when the track's previous owners campaigned for slot machines during a local election in 1999, the public was told the scope of the operation would be smaller, totaling about 500 machines. The ballot used in the election, in which slots at the track passed by a narrow margin, did not specify machine totals for Delta Downs.

"It is not our intent by filing the petition that Delta Downs should not operate," said John Gallaway, president of Isle of Capri Casino Inc., in a statement. "However, we would like to see the Gaming Board hold the chosen operator accountable to the representations made to and voted by the citizens of Calcasieu Parrish."

Others parties opposing the licensing of Delta Downs are St. Charles Gaming Co., and the Grand Palais Riverboat Inc.

Boyd Gaming has made close to $30 million in renovations to Delta Downs, which opens for a Thoroughbred meet Nov. 17.