New Gaming Proposal Released Without Slots at Tracks - ITHA Opposes Posted On:Oct 26, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
The Illinois Senate is considering a newly filed amendment to Senate Bill 747 which drastically changes Senate Bill 744 that the horsemen worked so hard to pass through the House and Senate earlier this year. This Bill was crafted, supposedly, to mirror the desires of Governor Quinn in connection with gaming expansion. The ITHA expects this bill to be called for a vote in the Senate as early as this afternoon and we expect it to be defeated.
The ITHA has remained steadfast in our support of SB744 which puts slots at the tracks, ends recapture, guarantees racing opportunities, and has rate splits with the tracks which were all agreed to and signed off on by all tracks and horsemen groups in Spring 2010.
SB747 removes slots from racetracks and replaces it with a subsidy from all casinos. While the supposed aim of the horse racing portion of the bill is to promote Illinois racing and breeding, the new Bill splits the subsidy 81% to the racetracks and 19% to horsemen purses. In contrast, the recently distributed 3% Impact Fee split that subsidy 40% to the racetracks and 60% to horsemen purses. Clearly the purpose and intent of this proposed law has been perverted in SB747.
Also, the guaranteed racing opportunities which was the cornerstone of the ITHA being a part of the drafting, promoting and passing of SB744 has been stripped out of SB747 for thoroughbreds only while guarantees, although in an unacceptably modified manner, has been maintained in the new bill for standardbreds.
The only part of the horsemen fundamentals of SB744 that survived in the new bill is the elimination of recapture.
As it stands, the ITHA can not and will not support SB747 as drafted or any proposal similar to it which is not in the best interest of the future of thoroughbred racing in Illinois. Both the HBPA at Fairmount and the standardbred IHHA continue committed, along with most of the Illinois racetracks in support of the language in SB744. Along with the thoroughbred horsemen, the IHHA has repeatedly stated that it will not support a bill that does not guarantee racing opportunities for both thoroughbreds and standardbreds.