Gaming expansion, including authorization for slot machines at racetracks, appears to have been left at the starting gate once again in the Illinois General Assembly.
Legislation to expand gaming in Illinois remains alive as the legislature nears the scheduled adjournment date for its spring session. House Speaker Michael Madigan upped the ante by announcing Wednesday, May 24, that House Democrats see gaming as the most attractive source of new revenue for the state.
Arlington Park reported a 25% increase in handle and a healthy jump in attendance for its opening weekend this year.
Illinois horse racing is mired in a "downward spiral that will require action by state government to save it," Hawthorne Race Course President Tim Carey said as his track prepared to open the 2007 Illinois Thoroughbred season Friday.
An Illinois legislator said he would propose an expansion of gambling that would include racetrack slot machines.
Add the Illinois Racing Board to the list of those who have no idea what caused the recent spate of fatal breakdowns at Arlington Park Racecourse.
Add the Illinois Racing Board to the list of those who have little idea what has caused the recent spate of fatal breakdowns of horses at Arlington Park Racecourse.
Some $35 million a year in subsidies promised to the Illinois racing industry in recently passed legislation appears headed for court rather than the tracks. The situation threatens to become a replay of events that derailed an even bigger subsidy approved seven years ago.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved and sent to Gov. Rod Blagojevich legislation that would provide as much as $35 million a year in subsidies for Illinois racing--but only for two years.
With time running out in the spring session, legislation that would divert more than $50 million a year from Illinois riverboat casinos to the horse racing industry has stalled in the state House of Representatives.
Just days after the Illinois Gaming Board revoked the license of Emerald Casino, one-time rival communities once again are preparing to join a prolonged battle for the lucrative riverboat license.
The Illinois Gaming Board voted unanimously Tuesday to revoke the license of Emerald Casino -- the proposed riverboat gaming palace that once was expected to generate millions of dollars a year to support the state's racing industry.
A proposal by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan to ban riverboat gambling in Illinois has been dry-docked in the state Senate.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, after long opposition, has opened the door to the expansion of gaming. But his education-funding proposal doesn't specifically include the new casinos and support for racetracks that would make it politically viable in the state House and Senate.
The Illinois legislature adjourned its "overtime" spring session without acting on a package of gaming reforms that could have brought slot machines to racetracks.
Plagued by bad weather and short fields during the first month of its season, Arlington Park lost ground to racetracks in other states where purses are sweetened by slot machine revenue, Arlington president Cliff Goodrich told the Illinois Racing Board June 10.
The Illinois Legislature missed its midnight May 31 adjournment deadline in a stalemate over the state's budget. The deadlock likely dooms efforts to expand gaming in the state, including slot machines or other revenue-producing plans for Illinois racetracks.
Prospects for expansion of gaming in Illinois, possibly including slot machines for the state's race tracks, took a double hit as two of the state's top elected officials announced their opposition.
Support is building in the Illinois General Assembly for an end-of-session revision of gaming laws that could include slot machines at race tracks.
The Illinois Racing Board has approved a compromise 2004 Chicago-area Thoroughbred season that has Arlington Park giving up a week of live racing in return for "host track" revenue from early-season simulcasting. But serious questions remain about purse levels for 2004 because the state legislature during its spring session backed away from approving slot machines at racetracks.
Arlington Park has asked the Illinois Racing Board for approval to open its 2004 season April 28, two weeks ahead of the track's traditional Mother's Day opener. If granted, the request would take the Kentucky Derby simulcast rights away from National Jockey Club, which hosted Derby Day this year during its spring meet at Hawthorne Race Course.
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