Letter to Horsemen Regarding Impact Fee Monies Posted On:Aug 17, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
Dear Fellow Horsemen,
The activities of the current Arlington Park race meet, including the distribution of additional purse monies received from the 3% casino Impact Fee, which resulted in the release of $26 million into the horsemen’s Arlington Park purse account last week, are governed by the law and by a written contract that Arlington Park and the ITHA mutually agreed to this season and reflects the strong intentions of the horsemen.
Because the monies held in the purse accounts are there for the sole benefit of the horsemen and are essentially the horsemen’s money despite the physical control of the money by the racetracks, the ITHA is disappointed with Arlington Park’s actions since this supplemental purse money was received.
Arlington Park has entered into limited conversations with the ITHA since the Impact Fee became available and instead of coming to a mutual agreement for the disbursement of an appropriate portion of the monies during the last one-third of the 2011 meet, Arlington has chosen to make a unilaterally decided distribution.
We were pleased with the announced intentions of Arlington to distribute some of the Impact Fee monies during the 2011 season at our request after Arlington initially suggested that all the Impact Fee monies be reserved for subsequent years, however the details of the planned distribution for the remainder of 2011 remain unclear.
Arlington’s initial stated intentions in its “Press Release” issued last week that 10% of these monies would be distributed in 2011 is greater than what Arlington has done so far. 10% of the Impact Fee is $2.6 million. Although ITHA has never been presented with a proposal or plan for distributing Impact Fee monies only addressing the 2011 season, the apparent increase Arlington is giving to purses is 21% above the 2011 average daily purses of $167,000, over the remaining 28 days of the meet starting last Friday, instead of our request that an increase begin last Thursday.
This so-called 21% increase amounts to approximately a $35,000 increase per day, which over 28 days is less than $1 million.This figure is far less than 10% of the $26 million Impact Fee money released. Arlington has insisted that any agreement for distribution of Impact Fee monies in 2011 include modifications to our current contract agreement for the disposition of these monies.
Arlington has also requested that ITHA sign off on a recapture-like provision that would make ITHA and the purse account responsible for any litigation that may arise as a result of paying out any of the Impact Fee monies to the horsemen.
Without getting into technical aspects of the issues here and without sharing the specifics of our conversations with Arlington, ITHA simply wants to make horsemen aware that this matter remains an issue in progress and we will act with all professionalism and respect, making sure we also act in the best interest of horsemen and racing.
Mike and Glen are in New York this week attending a national Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association meeting. Among the issues we are discussing with fellow horsemen and nationally recognized industry leaders is the Impact Fee monies.
We continue to work on your behalf, the finest people we know, the horsemen of Illinois.
Michael B. Campbell, PresidentGlen Berman, Executive Director