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Illinois Gov. expected to sign bill for gaming at tracks

June 02, 2019

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Illinois horse racing appears poised to receive a huge boost with the passage of Senate Bill 690 on Sunday by the Illinois Senate. The bill passed the House 87-27 on Saturday. The bill now moves to the desk of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has stated he will sign the legislation. The bill also calls for a new track with gaming, but ONLY for harness racing.
The bill authorizes 1,200 gaming machines at Hawthorne Race Course and Arlington Park and 900 for Fairmount Park.
The Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association posted the following message on its website: "SB 690, the gaming bill, our jobs bill, the slots at racetrack bill, call it anything you like bill has passed the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has told us he is fully supportive and plans to sign this as soon as possible. It’s been a long time coming but it appears as though we have finally gotten over the hump.
"Horse racing highlights of this bill include:
  1. The elimination of recapture.
  2. A guaranteed amount of live racing.
  3. A fair percentage of profits from the slot machines and table games to purses.
  4. A new racino for harness racing only can be built.
  5. The R.I.C.F. program has been increased to $1m.
  6. 15% of purses earned from slot machines and table games are earmarked specifically for ICF purses for both state and county fairs.
  7. Sports betting may be allowed at the racetracks but we are still seeking clarification on that process. Our percentage to purses from sports betting will be handled contractually.
  8. A new wrinkle was added for the state fairs. 50 VGT machines will be added to the beer tents at the state fairs and a portion of the profits will go to our ICF races there.
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