Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (1/29/14)
Illinois Lawmakers Vote to Extend ADW
With IRB Funded and Full Racing Schedule Anticipated for 2014, Illinois Horsemen Return Our Focus to the Agreed Gaming Bill
Update from Mike Campbell,
President of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association
Dear Fellow Horsemen:
Illinois lawmakers today approved legislation necessary to extend advance deposit wagering for three years beyond its scheduled expiration on Friday. The agreement will fully fund the operations of the Illinois Racing Board and provide for a full schedule of racing at the state's five tracks in 2014.
When this plan becomes law, as expected, we will continue live racing unabated this year and avoid the threatened doomsday scenario of catastrophic cuts to live racing opportunities that would have decimated Illinois breeding and thousands of jobs throughout racing and Illinois agribusiness.
We thank the IRB for its leadership in encouraging all parties to reach this agreement last fall. We also thank Gov. Pat Quinn, Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, as well as other legislative leaders and lawmakers, for their attention to this matter and ongoing consideration for the interests of Illinois horsemen.
The Senate and House votes in favor of the bill today were 47-4 and 95-10, respectively (click for the Senate roll call and here and here for the House roll calls - all PDF). The IRB plans to meet at 10 am Friday to adopt the racing schedule for 2014.
With resolution of ADW behind us, our focus will return once again to passage and implementation of the agreed gaming expansion bill. That legislation, which is intended to help Illinois horse racing compete with racing in other states already allowing their tracks to supplement purses with slot machine revenue, embodies the principles that Illinois horsemen hold dear:
- Eliminate the recapture subsidy that compensates Illinois tracks for the loss in live handle related to simulcasting their signals across the globe. These subsidy dollars for tracks flow directly from horsemen purses.
- Require Arlington Park and Hawthorne Racecourse, combined, to offer at least 1,950 and as many as 2,500 racing opportunities each year under a sliding scale based on slot machine revenue at those tracks.
- Require Arlington and Hawthorne to share 12.75% to 26.5% of adjusted gross revenue with horsemen purses under a sliding scale based on specified benchmarks.
Arlington, Hawthorne, the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, and all major Illinois horse racing stakeholders agreed to this legislation. This spring, Illinois horsemen will be at the forefront of our industry's push for this bill. We look forward to working with Arlington, Hawthorne, and the other stakeholders, to finally win passage and approval of that bill.
Lawmakers will reconvene in Springfield on Tuesday, Feb. 4, to continue their spring session. The session is scheduled to adjourn May 31.
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