Fairmount Park opens with slot machine issue at forefront

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by KMOV.com staff

KMOV.com

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 5:35 PM

(KMOV) – Fairmount Park Race Track's 88th season will kick off at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

The horses will run 52 times at the track this year, down from 65 live races last season.

Officials say that number could continue to drop if the park is not allowed to have slot machines, which is being proposed in the Illinois State Legislature.

The amendment was proposed by Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island. The proposal allows every horse track in Illinois to have gambling machines, except for Fairmont Park. Rita says legalizing slot machines at Fairmont Park would take business away from nearby Casino Queen, whose taxes provide 40 percent of the city’s general fund budget.

But if it’s passed, Rep. Dwight Kay, R-Glen Carbon, says 1,400 jobs will be lost. He says 400 of those jobs would be at the track, with another 600 to 1,000 surrounding businesses.

News 4 attempted to reach the governor’s office to see if Pat Quinn would sign the bill if passed, but no one would comment.

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