Edgar Says Future Of Racetracks Depends On Slot Machines

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.”

More from Mike Krauser
  • JeanSC

    Slot machines don’t have any inherent relationship to horse racing. If horse racing can’t survive as a stand-alone sport with its own betting side, then maybe it shouldn’t survive as an “industry” in a particular location. It doesn’t require betting to be a legitimate way to compare horses.

  • Lyndia

    When I drive by the race tracks there are not many cars out there. 35 years ago, the lots were full something needs to be done if you want the racing industry to survive.

  • antigambler

    If race tracks get slot machines, it wouldn’t be long before there would be a push for legislation to allow them to end horse racing. Slots at tracks are nothing more than a survival plan for already-wealthy race track owners, not horse racing.

  • righttrack

    Horse racing is a dying business. It needs to live or die on its own merits, not adding slot machines to the property. My business has been a little slow here too – can I add slot machines to boost my income too ???

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live