Thursday the Illinois General Assembly passed the second bill in two years that would provide for the horse racing industry to receive three percent of the adjusted gross revenue from the four most profitable riverboat casinos in the state over the next three years. It is estimated that the legislation will provide $30 million a year for horse racing in the
“It was a good day for
House Bill 4758 passed the Illinois Senate by a 37-13 vote and the House 88-16. The provisions of the bill will go into effect immediately upon Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s signing the legislation into law.
Somone said HB 4758 is basically the same as HB1918 which was passed in the summer of 2006 and had the same provision but for only two years. That legislation was protested by the riverboats casinos, which filed suit against the state, claiming its provisions were unconstitutional. The suit was rejected by the lower courts in the state as well as the Illinois Supreme Court. The suit has advanced to the U.S. Supreme Court where it waits a decision. “There’s a chance they won’t even hear it,” Somone said.
The money provided by the 2006 legislation has been collected and sits in escrow. Somone said the harness horsemen will receive approximately $12 million for the purse account, after a portion of the money is used to pay their debts on recapture to the racetracks. “We are anticipating that money to begin to flow probably in June,” Somone added. “We are very, very confident that money will come our way.”
Somone also said the new legislation has no contingency on the outcome of the suit with the U.S. Supreme Court.