Churchill Downs' Arlington Park Jeopardizing Illinois Gaming Expansion
Arlington Jockeying for Entire iGaming Windfall, Refusing to Share a Dime with
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, April 22, 2013
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --As
shareholders of Churchill Downs Inc. gather Tuesday at Arlington Park, the
flagship Illinois horse racing track and a CDI property, Arlington is backing
legislation at the Illinois Capitol that promises to enrich CDI and Arlington
while crippling what remains of Illinois horse racing.
With CDI increasingly focused on casino gaming, Arlington is pursuing the
authority for CDI and Arlington to offer poker and other casino-style games
over the Internet. But while CDI and Arlington stand to make a fortune from
Internet gaming, they would not share a dime of that with purses – the pool of
money that supports and drives horse racing.
If Illinois approves this measure and permits CDI and Arlington to capitalize
on Internet gaming while offering no benefit to horse racing, Illinois
horsemen will only expedite their exodus to other states that allow tracks to
supplement purses with revenue from casino-style games. As Arlington has noted
in recent years, the scope and quality of Illinois horse racing has already
suffered because horsemen naturally migrate to states offering higher purses.
Under Senate Bill 1739, both tracks and advance deposit wagering providers –
which facilitate wagering on horse racing over the Internet – would be
authorized to operate casino-style games online. Under the same proposal, they
would share none of that revenue with purses. Both CDI (through its ADW
company, TwinSpires) and Arlington (its track) would be entitled to such
All three major horsemen groups in Illinois – the Illinois Thoroughbred
Horsemen's Association, the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association, and the
Illinois Horsemen Benevolent &Protective Association – oppose this effort to
transform tracks and ADW providers into casino gaming empires while providing
no benefit for horse racing, the hard-working men and women who make horse
racing possible, or the more than 35,000 jobs that Illinois horsemen support.
(For additional background, click here.)
Illinois horsemen have long stood by CDI and Arlington as they sought for
Arlington to offer slot machines to enhance purses and make Illinois horse
racing more competitive. But now that CDI and Arlington recognize the vast
potential of Internet gaming – which they could launch with no capital
investment – they propose sharing none of that revenue with purses.
Illinois horsemen support allowing tracks and ADW providers to operate
Internet gaming as a means to support purses. But tracks would earn this
gaming privilege solely because of their association with horse racing.
Generating revenue to bolster purses - to save horse racing, preserve jobs,
and support Illinois agriculture - is the entire point of letting tracks and
ADW providers venture into casino-style gaming.
Unless SB 1739 is amended to require tracks and ADW providers to share
Internet gaming revenue with purses, the proposal threatens to radically
diminish Illinois horseracing and, in the process, cost thousands of middle
class and lower-income workers their jobs, harming the best interests of the
state of Illinois and its taxpayers.
The Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has for decades represented
trainers and owners at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Racecourse, and has nearly
2,500 members. The ITHA is dedicated to ensuring the integrity, safety, and
health of those involved in horse racing, and promoting, encouraging and
developing all facets of our sport.
President, Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association
SOURCE Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association
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