ADW Extension Agreement Reached in Illinois

Extension avoids scenario in which live racing would have been curtailed.

Illinois horsemen and representatives of the state's racetracks and Advance Deposit Wagering providers have reached agreement on an extension of ADW for three years.

By agreeing to the extension of the ADW agreement, which still must be approved by the state's General Assembly, the Illinois horse racing industry avoided a scenario in which live racing could have been seriously curtailed in 2014. A portion of ADW revenue is used to fund the Illinois Racing Board and its regulatory functions would have been curtailed if no agreement was reached before the expiration at the end of this year.

The authorization for ADW was allowed by the General Assembly to expire for five months earlier this year, costing the IRB about $750,000 in tax revenue it uses for regulatory purposes. ADW was subsequently approved through Jan. 31, 2014.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the ADW agreement between horsemen, tracks, and the ADW representatives came Nov. 19 following the regular IRB meeting. The agreement will result in full funding of the IRB and will impose a temporary surcharge on winning wagers placed through ADW and at tracks, OTBs, and inter-track wagering facilities, according to Glen Berman, executive director of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

If approved by the General Assembly when it reconvenes in special session Dec. 3-4, the 2014 Illinois dates would be essentially the same as this year. Hawthorne Race Course would run 100 dates from Feb. 21-April 27 and Oct. 1-Dec. 31; Arlington Park would have 89 live programs from April 28-Sept. 30; and Fairmount Park would run 52 dates throughout the year.

The ITHA's Berman said the agreement will provide for a full schedule of racing in the state "thereby avoiding the threatened doomsday scenario of draconian cuts to live racing opportunities. We look forward to presenting this plan to lawmakers...and will press for its favorable consideration."

"This extension of the ADW law is critical to the success of the state's horseracing industry," Tony Petrillo, general manager of Arlington, said in a statement. "The compromise agreement fairly distributes revenue without making any cuts to the 2014 racing schedule. The industry will work together to pass a bill that will ensure the survival of Illinois horseracing, the $1.4 billion it contributes to the state's economy, and the 37,000 jobs it sustains throughout the state."