Illinois horse racing industry holds its breath - KMOV.com

Illinois horse racing industry holds its breath

They've been waiting more than a decade for the state of Illinois to allow slot machines at horse tracks and now the horse industry has never been closer... but they're not there yet.

The House passed the bill on Memorial Day... Now Tuesday, the final day of the session, the Senate is expected to vote on the bill, which would also create more casinos.

The horse tracks have seen races dwindle and attendence decline since horse owners can make more money racing in other states.

I talked to Bobby Pace, the racing director at Fairmount Race Park in Collinsville Tuesday morning.  He is excited and nervous about what happens next.  If the bill becomes law, he says it likely won't take too long to get slots put in at Fairmount.

"It just takes us to such a different level, a higher level, " says Pace.  "These horsemen have endured problems the past ten years.  It's the adage of the carrot's been over the horse constantly and hopefully we get a bite at the carrot finally."

Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV.  He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com.

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