Louisiana Downs Purse Fund Missing $2 Million

The Louisiana Attorney General’s office and the Louisiana Racing Commission reportedly are investigating a report of $2 million “missing” from the purse fund at Louisiana Downs in Bossier City (l.).

In Louisiana, a July 29 Twitter post from the Shreveport Bossier Journal reported that $2 million in purse money was “missing” from the Horsemen’s Purse Fund at Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack in Bossier City.

The post included a link to the story, which has since been deleted. However, the BloodHorse said the money, generated from slot machines and parimutuel wagering, has not yet been located.

Benard Chatters, president of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said, “It’s a legal issue, and it is in the hands of the Attorney General and Racing Commission in our state. Hopefully, we can get a quick resolution. There are a lot of things going on in the Thoroughbred industry right now that are upsetting to the industry, and we certainly hope this can be resolved as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry acknowledged that a “complaint” related to Louisiana Downs had been received. Landry’s spokesman Cory Dennis said, “We are aware of the complaint and are working with the Louisiana Racing Commission and the other parties to resolve the matter.”

When asked about the situation, Louisiana Racing Commission Executive Director Charlie Gardiner stated: “I have been instructed to forward all inquiries to the AG’s office.” Louisiana Downs’ new owner, Kevin Preston, president of Rubico Gaming, which purchased Louisiana Downs from Caesars for $22 million last fall, has not responded to inquiries.

Thoroughbred breeder Jay Adcock said he’s aware of rumors surrounding the purse fund at Louisiana Downs. “I don’t know any details, but it’s a big concern because money from the Horseman’s Fund trickles down to everyone. Anything that impacts the health of the industry is something we’re all concerned about.”

Opened in 1974, Louisiana Downs has a 12,000 square-foot casino in addition to horseracing facilities. The venue hit its peak in the early 1980s, attracting 1.3 million fans in a racing season. But observers said the quality of racing and crowd numbers has declined due to competition from nearby casinos in Shreveport and Bossier City. Louisiana Downs even suspended its signature Super Derby race in recent years.

Preston said Rubico has been investing in upgrades at Louisiana Downs since the sale closed last fall. He said, “We are prepared to bring this iconic track back to its iconic status,” and promised to bring back the Super Derby race.

Currently, Louisiana Downs is in the midst of its 84-day live thoroughbred racing schedule, offering live races Saturdays through Tuesdays, ending September 27.