Supreme Court Declines to Hear Racetrack, Casino Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is staying out a fight between Illinois' casinos and horse tracks over a state law that cropped up in the impeachment and indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The casinos object to a law that forces them to transfer of millions of dollars to the state's horse tracks.

Last year, the state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the law. The high court let that ruling stand June 8 without comment.

The renewal of the law in 2008 figures in the case against Blagojevich. FBI wiretaps on telephones in Blagojevich's home and the governor's office showed an alleged effort by the then-governor to shake down a racetrack owner for a sizable campaign contribution while the bill was pending. A lawyer for the owner, John Johnston, has said the contribution was not made.

Four secretly recorded conversations about the issue were played at Blagojevich's impeachment trial in the state Senate.

After years of lobbying, a law was passed in 2006 that required the casinos to share their revenue, but the racetracks haven't received any of the money because of legal challenges. Casinos filed a suit that argued the law violated the state constitution. Last June, the Illinois State Supreme Court ruled against the casinos, leading to the appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, an estimated $80 million collected under the provisions of the 2006 law sits in an escrow account.

(Originally published at BloodHorse.com.)  

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