Horse racing is in the mix again in the Illinois state legislature in Springfield.
“There’s a lot of chatter going on in Springfield right now,” said Tony Somone, executive director of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. “Now that Rahm Emanuel is mayor (of Chicago), it’s been very clear since day one that he’d love to have a Chicago casino, and if the Illinois legislature finally decides to expand gaming here, the horse racing industry will be a part of it.”
Somone said the gaming bills that are being discussed are very similar to last year’s SB737—the one that was denied this past January—that Rep. Lou Lang did not call.
“The same concept is being discussed, with a number of variations, and that also includes a smaller bill that would feature slots at the tracks and a downtown casino only,” said Somone.
“The session ends June 1, so all of this has to end next week,” Somone acknowledged. “Right now I’m cautiously optimist, but after having the rug pulled out from under us in January, it’s hard to be 100 percent confident about anything at this point.”
Meanwhile, next week the Maine legislature will vote on LD 1203, “An act to amend the laws governing the deadline and conditions for municipal approval of a second racino and to allow a tribal racino in Washington County.” This bill would allow a racino in Biddeford and Washington County.--By Kimberly Rinker