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Illinois looks at alternative ways to expand gambling in the state

TAGs: andrew mack, Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association, Pat Quinn, Race tracks, slot machiens

Pat QuinnAlthough talks are edging ever closer to an agreement, Governor of Illinois, Pat Quinn – alongside other lawmakers and industry groups – are looking at a bunch of other ways to expand gambling in the state, while at the same time avoiding the installation of slot machines at horse racing tracks.

One of the ideas is at the possibly of casino subsidy of the racing industry.

Public relations executive who represents the Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association, Andrew Mack, said horsemen still love having those  lovely slots to put their coins in at race tracks, but they are also quite open minded about other forms of gambling.

Though, as a report by rrstar.com describes, horsemen don’t have much trust that casinos can help their industry.

“The horsemen are not closing the door on impact fees or revenue sharing, but there would have to be an ironclad method in getting that money to the horsemen,” Mack said.

One of the main reasons for this is that past attempts to share revenue have failed. Mack explained that in the past Illinois has been unreliable in “appropriating money owed to the industry” from revenues of the state’s tenth casino, which opened recently in Des Plaines.

However, Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the man who deals with all things gambling related in the Illinois House, said progress is being made on a possible gambling deal, but slots at the tracks is what keeps throwing a spanner in the works.

Land said: “If the racetracks didn’t get slots at tracks, what could they get in return? I do not believe there will be a bill unless the horse racing industry has permanence and consistent revenue to keep them afloat.”

The expansion of gambling in Illinois has been a tricky subject for some time and, as the lawmakers have exclaimed, remains difficult to agree on. In order for its support by certain lawmakers, certain provisions are needed and if those provisions are removed, the whole thing will fall through.

Nevertheless, Mack said if slot machines were added at tracks then it would put Illinois in the same league as other states.

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