COLLINSVILLE, IL (KTVI) – Much of the horse racing season at Fairmount Park and at other thoroughbred tracks around Illinois could be wiped out if state lawmakers don’t extend a state law allowing online betting.
The law expires Friday. A three-year extension is on the line. The extension has already been passed by the senate, but the Illinois house has not acted on it yet.
A spokesperson for Fairmount Park says 1,000 jobs at the Metro East track could be in jeopardy if the law isn’t extended.
Wednesday is the last day the legislature is slated to be in Springfield before Friday’s expiration.
Wednesday is also Governor Quinn’s State of the State Address and typically not much work gets done on that day.
The online betting law is called “Advanced Deposit Wagering,” or ADW. It first went into effect in 2009 and is a critical revenue source for tracks and the Illinois Gaming Board.
Fairmount’s President Brian Zander tells the Belleville News-Democrat that online betting generated about $1.5 million a year for the track between 2010 and 2012.
The BND says with the wagering plan, Fairmount would have 52 race dates this season. Without the plan, there would only be ten dates.
A spokesperson for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says he isn’t sure if the measure will be voted on. Governor Quinn’s spokesperson says the governor supports the extension and will sign it if it reaches his desk.