10/09/2001 12:00AM

With slots still pending, Delta drops purse boost


Delta Downs in Vinton, La., will not pay out the record $125,000 a day in purses it had planned, because of uncertainty about when the track will receive a gaming license to operate slots from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

Delta Downs officials had hoped to get approval for slots from the board at its Oct. 16 meeting. But the matter will not be on the agenda because the board has not received the results of a background investigation on the track from the Louisiana State Police.

As a result, the track has cut purses for the upcoming meet, which runs 26 days from Nov. 17 to Dec. 30, to $30,000 to $35,000 a card.

It is a longshot that Delta Downs will be operating slots during its upcoming Thoroughbred meet. Even if the track were to be awarded a gaming license in November, it must go through at least a month's worth of inspections by the state police before it can open its slots casino to the public. The $125,000 a day purse structure was based on the projection that slots would be up and running at the track early in the Thoroughbred meet.

Racing officials said condition books were at the printer Monday when they learned the purse structure had to be altered. The new condition books are due out sometime next week. The meet will be the first under the ownership of Boyd Gaming, which owns 11 casino properties around the country.