01/21/2003 1:00AM

Evangeline gets slots license


Evangeline Downs in Lafayette, La., was unanimously awarded a license to operate slot machines during a Louisiana Gaming Control Board meeting on Tuesday.

Evangeline, which plans to relocate to slots-friendly Opelousas Parish, is the third racing plant in the state to get a gaming license along with Delta Downs, which opened a casino last February, and Louisiana Downs, which plans to have slots on line by June 2003. The state's other track, Fair Grounds in New Orleans, has not received legislative passage for slots.

Evangeline's gaming license will enable the track to open a slots casino on a tract of land in Opelousas, La., provided floor plans are approved by the Gaming Board. Evangeline must then move to that site, located at the intersection of Interstates 49 and 190, within two years.

Evangeline is owned by Peninsula Gaming, which operates a riverboat casino in Iowa. Other gaming companies with investments in Louisiana racing are Harrah's, which owns majority interest in Louisiana Downs, and Boyd Gaming, which owns Delta.