Roughly $141 million in an escrow account has been freed up for use by the Illinois horse racing industry, according to published reports.
The Bloomington Pantagraph quoted representatives of the Illinois Racing Board and Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association who indicated purses at the state’s Thoroughbred and Standardbred tracks could increase quickly.
“It’s all going to take shape this week,” IRB executive director Marc Laino told the Pantagraph Aug. 5.
The money comes from a 2006 law that awarded 3% of gaming revenue from the four largest casinos in Illinois to horse racing. The casinos immediately sued, and according to the newspaper, the U.S. Supreme Court recently rejected their case.
An official with Penn National Gaming Inc., one of the Illinois casino owners, confirmed the funds were released but also told the Pantagraph the company hasn’t decided whether to move forward with a related federal lawsuit.
The casino funding is dedicated to purses and operations at five racetracks in Illinois: Arlington Park, Fairmount Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Balmoral Park, and Maywood Park.