Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (5/17)
Springfield Visit / ADW Update / Meeting With Governor
Dear Fellow Horsemen:
As the ITHA contract negotiations with Arlington were reaching a final and successful stage, ITHA President Michael Campbell traveled to Springfield Wednesday afternoon (May 2) to attend the Senate Executive Committee hearing on HB 3779 (Sen. Cullerton/ Rep. Ford), which was amended to include a three-year extension of the current Advanced Deposit Wagering statute (ADW law). As many ITHA members know, the ADW law sunsets in August, and negotiations have occurred regarding possible re-working of that statute. Among the suggestions that have been discussed are: (a) a one-year extension of the ADW law that would allow for meaningful review next session, presumably after a gaming expansion measure would be enacted; (b) a one-year extension of the ADW law that would include modest assessments on the ADW providers to support a one-year supplement to harness horsemen purses, again with the expectation of a more thorough review of the statute next year; (c) a suggestion by the harness race tracks for a formula distribution of ADW proceeds to the various vendors, tracks, and purse accounts; and (d) the three-year extension of the current ADW law proposed by Sen. President Cullerton in HB 3779. ITHA members may wish to review the excellent overview of ADW authored by Executive Director Glen Berman, and posted on the ITHA website on March 20, 2012.
During the Senate Executive Committee hearing on HB 3779, representatives of Arlington and Fairmont testified in support of the three-year sunset extension, while representatives of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association testified in opposition. The measure was approved by a vote of 9-2-2, and is now pending on the Senate floor. If approved by the Senate, the measure will advance to the House for further consideration.
Throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening (May 2), ITHA President Campbell remained in close contact with the ITHA team involved in the final contract negotiations, which continued late into the night. President Campbell also met with former Governor Jim Edgar and numerous Illinois legislators that night. Interestingly, Edgar and various legislators were independently following our contract progress through media reports, and ITHA members should be heartened by the universal support that was expressed. By the end of the evening, a fully-executed contract between ITHA and Arlington Park was achieved.
ITHA President Campbell met with Governor Pat Quinn in Springfield on Thursday (May 3) to personally update him and to discuss the long-term needs of our industry. It was a very positive conversation, and Governor Quinn remains a steadfast supporter of Illinois horse owners, trainers, jockeys, breeders, and backstretch workers, as well as all those in related agri-business positions that support our industry. Governor Quinn is vitally interested in our long-term survival, and in the integrity of the Illinois horse racing industry. While reforming the Illinois public pension system and reducing the costs of our Medicaid program are foremost challenges now facing Governor Quinn, he clearly remains focused on the long-term needs of Illinois horse racing.
Michael B. Campbell
President, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association
Serving the Finest People We Know,
The Horsemen of Illinois