After years of waiting and protracted litigation instituted by the casinos, the 3% Impact Fee monies which accumulated to a total of more than $141 million is finally available. As of August 10, 2011, $25,995,409.01 is added to the Arlington Park purse account figure and $17,075,779.75 is added to the Hawthorne Racecourse purse account figure.The ITHA has been working for many months to get actual purse accounts created at both Arlington and Hawthorne, which have never existed, in anticipation of release of these monies. We expect the Illinois Racing Board to address our request for segregated, interest-bearing purse accounts at both tracks at the August 30, 2011 IRB meeting. This matter was scheduled for the July IRB meeting but that meeting was cancelled by the IRB.
The ITHA has demanded an immediate, across-the-board increase to the overnight purses at Arlington, of 25% so that for the remaining 29 dates of the 2011 Meeting, the overnight purses would average $208,750.00 over those last 29 dates. The ITHA has also demanded an immediate elimination of the 6 and 7 horse field, 15% penalties that currently exist. As of the writing of this message, Arlington had not yet agreed to our demand for these purse increases which we believe should begin with the Thursday, August 12, 2011 card.The ITHA will pursue this matter with all resources available to it.
Hawthorne Racecourse is planning on offering close to $200,000.00 in average daily overnight purses for the upcoming Fall Meeting. These projections include offering an average of $194,000.00 in daily overnights over the next 6 meetings (Fall 2011, Spring & Fall 2012, Spring & Fall 2013, and Fall 2014) with the help of the Impact Fee monies.Hopefully by 2014 our purses will also see supplements from electronic gaming.