Day At The Track

Things looking better for Illinois racing today?

03:14 AM 30 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Harness racing
Big decision coming today for Illinois

Time is quickly ticking away in regard to the Advance Deposit Wagering saga in Illinois. With a racing crisis looming, a spokesman for Governor Pat Quinn has issued a positive statement in regard to the situation.

The current agreement sees a portion of funds from ADW funnelled to the Illinois Racing Board so it can regulate live horse racing in the state. That agreement is scheduled to expire on January 31, therefore leaving the future of Illinois horse racing in limbo.

The earliest possible time that state legislators can vote on an ADW bill – which has already passed the Senate – is January 29. There has been some talk this week that the deadline may be extended into early February, but arrangements are not officially in place for that scenario.

According to an article by the Belleville News-Democrat, a spokesman for Quinn has said that the governor supports the bill which would see a new three-year extension on an ADW agreement.

"The governor supports extending advanced deposit wagering," said Gov. Quinn’s spokesman, David Blanchette. "The governor intends to sign it if it reaches his desk."

Last week, Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association President Dave McCaffrey issued a press statement in which he said that it is imperative that Illinois legislators take time to pass the ADW bill so the Illinois Racing Board can continue to regulate horse racing in the state.

“Without ADW funds, the IRB cannot sufficiently carry out its responsibilities,” McCaffery said. “Consequently, harness racing would see a 95 per cent reduction in racing dates, from 251 racing days in 2013 to just 13 racing days in 2014. Such dramatic cuts will effectively kill Illinois horse racing and the thousands of jobs it creates.”

(With files from the Belleville News-Democrat)

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