Illinois board advances historical horse racing proposal
CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Racing Board has advanced a proposal to allow video gambling on past horse races despite the board’s attorney warning that the move would be illegal.
The board unanimously voted Tuesday to form a committee to prepare rules for historical horse racing, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Historical horse racing terminals, which resemble video gambling machines, randomly choose from thousands of past horse races and offer bets on each race, along with odds and past performance information on each horse. However, the names of the horses and the race are kept secret from the bettor after the wager is placed.
Opponents of the measure said it would be the equivalent of slot-machine gambling at tracks. Advocates argued that the process would be the same as regular horse racing games.
Board member Robert Schiewe Jr. said the struggling horse-racing industry needs historical horse racing.
Track owners have tried for nearly 20 years to get state lawmakers to allow casino-type gambling at their parks. The amount bet on horse races dropped in the state from a peak of $1.2 billion in 1990 to less than half of that last year, according to a state report.
Board General Counsel Michael Pieczonka said he’ll explore legal arguments for and against historical horse racing. But he has cautioned the board that he’s unsure how it can be done legally.
Jeffrey Brincat, chairman of the racing board, said legal questions need to be resolved and will also be looked at by the three-person board committee that he will appoint. The board committee is expected to meet in July.
“We have to look at every aspect of this,” said Brincat.
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com