09/05/2002 11:00PM

Peninsula buys rest of Evangeline


Peninsula Gaming Partners, which operates a riverboat casino in Iowa, made two major purchases last week that will affect the future of Evangeline Downs near Lafayette, La.

The company became the sole owner of the track by purchasing the 50 percent of the facility that it didn't already own from businessman William Trotter, and, in a separate transaction, it purchased approximately 500 acres in a neighboring parish that will serve as the new home for a rebuilt Evangeline Downs.

The track, which won a referendum to install slot machines, must move in order to operate them, as they were not approved in the parish in which the track currently sits. The new site is on Interstate 49 in Opelousas, about 15 minutes from where Evangeline Downs now sits.

The company is in the process of undergoing background checks to receive a license to operate slots from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board. Its purchase from Trotter must also be approved by the Louisiana Racing Commission.

An attorney for Peninsula declined to reveal the purchase price.

Peninsula originally purchased a 50 percent interest in Evangeline last July from B.I. Moody.