IL Racing Board Decision Impacts Tracks Viability | WGLT

IL Racing Board Decision Impacts Tracks Viability

Sep 29, 2015

Credit Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones via Creative Commons

The owners of Illinois' horse race tracks say the industry is struggling to survive, but key players diverge on how to salvage the industry. As Amanda Vinicky reports ... decisions by a state board Tuesday could determine tracks' fate.

Don't take my word for it that the stakes are high; take a listen to Dick Duchoissois, chairman of the Arlington Park track.

"We look at this meeting today as probably one of the most important ones that we have ever been to."

A state board gets to decide which track can hold races -- and therefore make money - on any given day. Arlington and another big track, Hawthorne, have long competed for racing dates.

But this year, they're asking the state to accept a one-year deal that splits the races. Duchoissois says it'll help save horse-racing in Illinois by allowing Arlington and Hawthorne to be more competitive. But that'd be done by cutting out the bankrupt Balmoral and Maywood tracks; neither would be able to hold ANY races next year.

The family that owns and operates those facilities says they'll force them to close for good, and hurt the industry in the long-run.