ITHA SB 744 Update from President Michael B. Campbell Posted On:Jun 05, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
Michael b. Campbell, President ITHA
Senate Bill 744 (Sen. Link/Rep. Lang) -- Passes the Senate and House!
After more than a decade of working to save horse racing in Illinois, the legislature passed Senate Bill 744 (sponsored by Senator Link, D-Waukegan; and Rep. Lang, D-Skokie) on the final day of the Spring Legislative Session on May 31, 2011.THANK YOU to one and all for helping to pass this bill. Clearly, it was a team effort!
If the bill is signed into law by the Governor, it will allow the state’s six racetracks to become racinos. Each of the Cook County tracks (Arlington Park, Hawthorne, and Maywood) will be authorized to have up to 1200 gaming positions. Each track outside of Cook County (Balmoral, Quad City Downs, and Fairmount) will be authorized to have up to 900 positions. The bill also authorizes the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield to expand horse racing and operate electronic gaming which will fund the rebuilding of the fairgrounds.
In addition, the bill will allow a casino to be developed in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Park City (in Lake County), and a location to be determined in the Chicago South Suburbs.The bill allows for a portion of the revenues raised from fees and taxes on these new and expanded casinos to be used to financially support the horse racing industry.
It is estimated that if all the portions of SB 744 are implemented, the State could realize anywhere from $1 to $1.6 billion annually to help fund education, child care, and construction projects.Most importantly to horsemen, the new revenue generated by the racinos will be directed to increase purse money by $60 to $80 million per year and assist backstretch workers, create new jobs, and track facility improvements. University equine research, retired and injured thoroughbred horses, 4-H and FAA programs and the Soil & Water Conservation Districts will also benefit from revenues generated by Senate Bill 744.
It is important to note that we are NOT finished with this bill yet.The bill now goes to the Governor where he has several options ranging from signing the bill into law within the next few months, to recommending changes to the bill, to vetoing the bill.If he makes recommendations for changes to the bill, then the bill will be returned to the legislature in October for their further consideration.
At this time we do not know what the Governor plans to do.Publically, he has voiced various concerns about the gaming expansion portion of this bill.He has mentioned that he would like to hear from the public on what we think he should do.For this reason, it is imperative that you contact the Governor’s office to let him know how important this bill is to YOU and your family.
ITHA will be coordinating several efforts to communicate to the Governor to urge him to sign Senate Bill 744 into law as soon as possible.Please watch for further messages from our office.
We are close to the wire; we have a winner let us ride the horse past the finish to victory…..
Serving the finest people we know, the horsemen of Illinois,