The Illinois General Assembly was convened on Tuesday (Dec. 3) but failed to pass a bill which would extend advanced deposit wagering (ADW). Without the extension of the law permitting ADW, the Illinois Racing Board has said it will not have funds to operate and the state's racing calendar will be slashed to only a handful of dates.
The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association posted a statement on its website:
"The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association strongly denounces the failure of the Illinois General Assembly to pass an extension of Advance Deposit Wagering today. That failure will very likely result in the loss of many of Illinois' agribusiness jobs and millions of dollars in state revenue.
"Without Advance Deposit Wagering, the Illinois Racing Board will not have the money required to operate and Illinois harness racing dates will be cut to the bone with only 13 days of live harness racing in 2014. Thirteen days of live racing absolutely cannot employ the 20,000 men and women who currently work in Illinois' horse racing industry.
"We still hold out hope that on January 29th, just days before the harness racing schedule typically starts, legislators will pass an ADW extension. Much damage will already be done however, as horsemen will undoubtedly have already shipped horses to other states with more favorable horse racing environments.