by Bob Kieckhefer
With the Illinois state budget in a shambles and a video gaming in bars and restaurants going nowhere as a solution, racetracks again are urging lawmakers to allow them to install slot machines.
The legislature last year authorized operation of video gaming at bars, restaurants, and similar establishments, with the state's share of the take going to fund a long-delayed capital development program. However, many local governments—including Arlington Heights, where Arlington Park is located—have opted out of that program, and regulators have been slow in developing oversight provisions.
“By permitting gaming machines at horseracing tracks, lawmakers have an opportunity not only to bolster the capital (spending) plan with a substantial, stable source of revenue; they also would help ensure the vitality of horse racing—and the larger Illinois horse industry—for generations to come,” the tracks said in a joint statement.
Track representatives planned to present their suggestion to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.