There are three pending lawsuits that affect the release of Impact Fee monies to horsemen and the tracks. Two of those cases originated in Will County State Court and the other was filed in the Northern District of Illinois Federal Court. All three cases have been appealed and the Appellate Courts have issued opinions this year. In the State Court cases, the constitutionality of the 2008 law was upheld but the interest on monies collected and held in a protest fund was determined to belong to the State.
The casinos will likely attempt to appeal the constitutionality issue to the Illinois Supreme Court which previously upheld the constitutionality of the similar 2006 law. Our attorneys will likely attempt to appeal the interest issue to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In the case that most directly affects the release of the Impact Fee monies to the horsemen and tracks, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the District Court decision that the federal court lacked jurisdiction to hear this case. As a result, this case is sent back to the trial court for further court proceedings which could ultimately lead to a trial of the issues alleged by the casinos. The Court also decided 2-1 to dismiss Rod Blagojevich from this lawsuit based on his claim of legislative immunity. The Appellate Court also ruled that the Temporary Restraining Order which is holding monies collected from casinos and disbursed from the Horse Racing Fund continue to be maintained in an interest-bearing special escrow account pending resolution of this lawsuit. The racetracks' attorneys may seek to have the 7th Circuit Opinion reconsidered by the full Appellate Court. There are also now a couple issues that may interest the U.S. Supreme Court if this case is appealed to it. Otherwise, the case will proceed at the trial court level. In either scenario, we can expect a long delay before an ultimate decision regarding these monies is made - maybe several years.