05/17/2012 8:32AM

Evangeline Downs to be sold to Boyd Gaming, owner of Delta Downs


Boyd Gaming, the Las Vegas-based parent company of Delta Downs in Vinton, La., has announced it has entered into an agreement to purchase Evangeline Downs in Opelousas, La., as part of a larger, five-property acquisition of Peninsula Gaming. The deal is worth $1.45 billion, and is expected to close by the end of 2012, according to a release issued by Boyd Gaming.

The other properties are the Kansas Star Casino near Wichita, Kan.; Diamond Jo Casino in Dubuque, Iowa; Diamond Jo Worth in Northwood, Iowa; and Amelia Belle Casino in Amelia, La.

Evangeline Downs is currently operating a Thoroughbred meet. The purchase of the track, which recently began offering account wagering, will be subject to approval of the Louisiana Racing Commission.

Boyd officials said in a release that the Peninsula Gaming properties were attractive in part because they “operate in locations with limited gaming supply and stable tax and regulatory environments.” They also cited strong management teams at the properties.

“Acquiring Peninsula Gaming is a transformative transaction that fits perfectly into our growth strategy by expanding our company’s scale, diversifying our platform, strengthening our financial profile, and generating meaningful value for our shareholders,” said Keith Smith, president and chief executive officer of Boyd. “The Peninsula properties are a strong fit for us, as they are well-managed and operate in resilient markets in the Midwest and South. We anticipate this transaction will be immediately accretive to earnings and significantly increase our free cash flow.”

Delta Downs is operating a meet for Quarter Horses but is best known as the home of the Delta Downs Jackpot. The Grade 3, $1 million race for 2-year-old Thoroughbreds will be held in November.