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Edgar Says Future Of Racetracks Depends On Slot Machines

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Gamblers play the slots. (CBS)

Gamblers play the slots. (CBS)

Mike Krauser Mike Krauser
Mike Krauser has been a reporter, anchor, producer, writer, managing...
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CHICAGO (WBBM) – The state’s horse racing industry doesn’t see much of a future unless the tracks get slot machines.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, slots at the tracks are part of the big gambling expansion bill passed by the legislature earlier this year. Lawmakers have been working on tweaking that legislation, as Gov. Pat Quinn has signaled he might veto the legislation due to concerns that it lacks proper oversight.

The horse racing industry, according to former Gov. Jim Edgar, is going to “rise or fall” on the bill.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports

Edgar is lobbying for the racetracks and races some of his own horses in Indiana, where more money can be made because slots at the tracks have propped up an industry in decline.

Fewer people are betting on the horses there, but revenues are up, because of the slots.

The Illinois tracks are hurting, despite subsidies from the existing riverboats. The amount of money wagered at the tracks in Illinois is at a 35-year low.

Edgar said that, if the gambling expansion bill fails, “you could see horse racing pretty much disappear in Illinois.”

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