Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Track Owners Plead for Quinn's Signature




    How Governor Pat Quinn will ultimately decide to deal with a gaming bill that passed the state legislature in May is still anybody's guess.

    But Illinois race track owners are pleading with the governor to sign the bill and let them bring slot machines to the track. Officials from Hawthorne, Arlington Park, Quad City Downs, Maywood and Balmoral racetracks met with the governor for about a half hour Friday to pitch their case.

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    “We had a great meeting with the Governor. He’s very interested in the agribusiness in Illinois, so we wanted to explain to him the importance of this bill to horse racing," said Tim Carey, the President of Hawthorne Race Course.

    Owners say the horseracing business leads to employment in fields such as horse breeders and trainers, hay farmers and dealers, grain dealers, farm equipment manufacturersm, veterinarians, blacksmiths and others.

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    But competition from 13 other states limits their effectivness in competing for the choice horses and jobs.

    They say slot machines will help bring business back to their ailing locations around the state and pour money back into the industry.

    Quinn Trades Barbs With Rahm on Casino

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    “If we want horsemen to run in in Illinois, we need slot machines at our racetracks,” Carey said.

    Quinn, for his part, has said he doesn't like some things in the bill relating to oversight. But the bill has not been sent to the governor's desk for consideration. State legislature used a parlimentary move to keep the bill from his desk while they lobbied for his signature.