Message from ITHA President Posted On:Jun 07, 2010 | Posted By:Glen
Mike Campbell, President of ITHA, with a message to Illinois horsemen.
As you have no doubt read, the Illinois General Assembly last week passed a state budget for the coming fiscal year. There is a chance that the legislature will briefly reconvene later this month, for the purspose of passing legislation to allow borrowing for state pensions, but the work of the spring legislative session is largely done.
Our "slots at tracks" legislation will be a matter for the fall veto session, which takes place in November. Meanwhile, the historic agreement between all Illinois and House determined that the veto session--which follows the fall election--is a better time politically for a vote to authorize electronic gaming machines, or slot machines, at Illinois horse racing tracks.
It is vitally important that "slots at tracks" becomes law if horse racing is to survive, let alone thrive, in Illinois. The bill that has been agreed upon by the tracks and horsemen will add between $60 and $80 million per year in new purse money from electronic gaming. It will repeal "purse recapture," resulting in an additional $14 million per year in increased purses. It will give Illinois horse racing among the best funded purses in North America. Our industry, and the jobs associated with it, will prosper.
Passage of a "slots at tracks" bill in the veto session is, however, not guaranteed. It is necessary that all Illinois horsemen take time this summer...and again this fall...to visit with their State Senator and State Representative. You need to tell your local legislators how vitally important it is to pass "slots at tracks" legislation in the veto session. You need to explain the positive benefits for Illinois jobs and Illinois tax revenue. Most of all, you need to alert your local legislators that this bill is important to you, as a constituent.
So please take the time to speak this summer, and again this fall, with your State Senator and State Representative. To help you explain the benefits of "slots at tracks," please look at the fact sheet on the ITHA website. That's www.itharacing.com.
If every Illinois horsemen does his or her small part, together we will be a loud voice. Together we will make this happen.
On behalf of ITHA, thank you for all your efforts.