Illinois: Slots at racetracks still the ‘hangup’ on gambling bill

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Legislation that would expand gambling in Illinois remains stuck due to Governor Pat Quinn’s opposition to slots at racetracks, but lawmakers are trying to work out a deal that might provide some revenues to the horse racing industry in lieu of slots.  The State Journal-Register says a casino subsidy to the tracks was among the possibilities discussed at a meeting last week.

“Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the Illinois House’s point man on gambling issues, said progress is being made on a possible gambling deal, but slots at the tracks remain the main hangup.”

“If the racetracks didn’t get slots at tracks, what could they get in return?” he said. “I do not believe there will be a bill unless the horse racing industry has permanence and consistent revenue to keep them afloat.”

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  • Bob C

    Impact fees from the casino industry are not a viable alternative.  We are still waiting on money from the 10th casino license which was designated for the Illinois racing industry.  It seems that the legislature must “appropriate” that money in order for the racing industry to get the revenue it was promised.  So what is the hangup?  And now Guv Q and the other wheeler dealers want us to accept another promise for impact fees.  I don’t buy it—and the Illinois racetracks and horsemens groups shouldn’t either.  This new proposition has “sucker” written all over it.

  • THE ENFORCER

    BOB C IS SO RIGHT ABOUT THE GREAT STATE OF ILLINOIS BEING A JOKE FOR ‘ SLOW /NO PAY METHODS..I AM LIVING ‘IT’ RIGHT NOW..

    THE STATE WILL PAY–BUT IT WILL ONLY RELEASE CHECKS AS ‘FUNDS BECOME AVAILABLE’.. THIS CAN RUN INTO BEING MONTHS AND THEN YEARS IN ARREARS– PLUS THE STATE IS REQUIRED TO PAY HIGH INTEREST RATES TO SOME VENDORS FOR MAKING THEM WAIT FOR THEIR $$$..

    WHY SHOULD THE TRACKS PUT THEMSELVES ‘AT RISK’ FOR NEW IMPACT FEES WHEN THE  PREVIOUS IMPACT FEE$  S-T-I-L-L HAVE NOT BEEN RECEIVED PER BOB C???

  • Bob C

    The State of Illinois is drowning in red ink, yet Guv Q turns up his nose at revenue that could be generated from slots at Illinois tracks.  Guv Q says he doesn’t want Illinois to be “The Las Vegas of the Midwest” and calls the plan for slots at the racetracks “top-heavy”.  I guess the plan HE offered a couple of years ago, to put VLT’s at every restaurant, bar and VFW hall in the state wasn’t “top-heavy”.  What a loser!  My guess is that Guv Q will be the next Illinois governor to go to prison.

  • Michael Arndt

    Having grown up there under Otto Kerner, and lived there under Bob Walker and others, including the latest scoundrel, I can truthfully say that Illinois Governors are always less than even money to end up in prison

  • Bob C

    Michael—I believe the former governor’s name was Dan Walker, but you make a good point.  One good thing Walker did was appointing Ray Freeark to the Illinois Racing Board.  Freeark worked diligently for passage of the legislation which became the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975.

  • Michael Arndt

    Thats right, Dan Walker. he walked the state end to end, telling folks all along the way how he was gonna bring an air of change to the Governors Mansion. A decade later he brought an air of change to Cell Block Six.

  • Bubbaknowsbo

    And the tracks are entitled to slots money why?  Because racing is a failed business?

    You should read more.  Slots do not create revenue, they simply redstribute it.  Rather than spend money on other forms of entertainment people will pull a slots lever.  My guess is in ten years we will finally reap what we have sown with this explosion of slots facilities.

  • Bob C

    Because the casino industry LIED it’s way into existence.  The casino sharks got their big, ugly foot in the door by saying that gambling would be restricted to the waterways.  Once they were permitted to cruise, their next step was to come dockside.  After they came dockside, then they asked for landbased casinos.  I seriously doubt that if they would have asked for landbased gambling from the outset, that they would operating today.  Some very slick maneuvering by a bunch of hip-pockets who are likely greasing the palms of Illinois politicians to see things their way.

  • Tres Abogados Stupidos

    I know nothing about this Illinois debacle but wasn’t there an Illinois Senator that won a major election a few years back that was also running on the “change” platform?

    How’s that worked out so far?

  • Bob C

    Don’t tell me I need to read more.  I’ve probably forgotten more about Thoroughbred racing than you will EVER know.

  • DR. SLOT

    I’m all for slots at race tracks-in fact I’m all for slots for whomever wants to go through the legitimate process of obtaining a license to have slots in any failing business-let’s face it- right or wrong- the country has decided that we’re going to make gambling  as much a part of our lives as fast food-however- when Churchill Downs lobbied against fingerprinting to aide in back round checks for potential employees at their facilities in Illinois you have to wonder why ?- the only conclusion you can come to is CD was going to hire some people with questionable pasts- with that in mind – how can anyone trust CD with slot machines- we all know that race tracks have done a miserable job in stopping cheating in the race game- if CD is brazen enough to actually try to stop legitimate back round checks of employees than they’ve given up the right to have any other form of gambling at their facilities- it’s already hard enough for the poor slot addict – do they really need people of questionable character running the casino.

  • Bubbaknowsbo

    OK, fine you’ve forgotten more than I will ever know.  So tell me why are horsemen entitled to anything from expanded gambling?  I live in the Northeast most of the year.  Many of our Mom and Pop bookstores have closed.  Should we subsidize them?  How about cops and firemen?  They don’t get paid nearly enough for the risks they take.  We just lost one in the line of duty in NYC.  What about family owned grocers that have been displaced by big box stores?  What about slots for them?

    I have yet to hear a good argument why racing deserves a handout that isn’t provided to many other industries.   It’s sad but it’s clear there isn’t enough interest in this country for racing to make it on its own and most horsemen have given up even trying and would prefer slots based welfare payments.

  • Bob C

    Have you ever been to Keeneland? Saratoga? Oaklawn? Del Mar?  These tracks regularly attract large crowds, as does Arlington, Santa Anita and Gulfstream Parks.  The racing product and the crowds at Tampa Bay Downs has steadily increased over the last few years.
    The 2011 Kentucky Derby set a new attendance record–over 165,000. So don’t tell me there is no interest in Horse Racing.  Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen are not asking for welfare.  They are asking for a level playing field.

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