The Illinois Racing Board has appointed a committee to draft rules for historical racing machines at state racetracks – even though the regulatory agency's attorney said the legality of the betting machines isn't clear.
“I don't know how we can draft rules to do something that can't be legally done. That's the problem,” the IRB's general counsel, Michael Pieczonka was quoted by the Chicago Tribune as saying.
Fairmount Park and Hawthorne have pushed for the machines that tracks in Kentucky, Oregon, Wyoming and Oregon have installed as an additional revenue stream. Arlington Park's Richard Duchossois told the Tribune he was undecided on whether to support the proposal.
“We need it,” IRB member Robert Schiewe Jr. was quoted as saying at the meeting. “We're out of time.”
Pari-mutuel handle has dropped by 40 percent in the last decade, the Tribune reported, as tracks face stiffer competition from in-state casinos and a more recent law permitting bars to install slot machines.
The committee has been asked to report back to the full board in July. Any proposal would have to be approved by a Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, comprised of state lawmakers.
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