07/29/2001 11:00PM

La. Downs loses on video poker

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BOSSIER CITY, La. - A district court in Baton Rouge has denied Louisiana Downs's request for a temporary restraining order to reactivate its 34 video poker machines last Friday, instead setting a hearing on the issue for Aug. 7.

Louisiana Downs's video poker terminals have been turned off since July 20. The action was taken by the Louisiana State Police because of a dispute over the track's renewal application, which lacked signatures on two forms as of a June 30 filing deadline. The machines contribute about $50,000 to $60,000 a month toward purses at Louisiana Downs.

"We, along with our horsemen, will be before the judge and we hope that things will be reconciled at that point," said Ray Tromba, general manager of Louisiana Downs.

Tromba said the video poker issue does not affect the track's plans to open a slots casino. "This has nothing to do at all with slots," he said. "Under gaming control in the state police, video poker and slots are two totally separate and distinct issues and arenas. Video poker has its own division, and slots has its own division, and our slots license, or our slots project, has not been and is no way impacted whatsoever."