Fairmont Park in danger of closing if slot machine legislation not passed
By KMOV Web Producer
COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KMOV.com) – Saturday marks the final day of horse races for the 2014 season at Fairmount Park. As workers in Collinsville prepare for another off-season, some wonder just how many more seasons the track can stay open without slot machines.
“We have a loyal fan base, but without the slots’ income, we just cannot attract enough purses and enough horses to put out a product that is going to work,” said Jon Sloane, the spokesperson for Fairmount Park. “We think [we have] a great based here, a great foundation” but officials need the legislation to pass.
According to Sloane, Illinois state lawmakers should discuss legislation about turning race tracks into racinos—casinos at race tracks—before the end of the year. Other bills concerning this issue have circulated in Springfield. Most recently, lawmakers discussed allowing every race track in the state of Illinois except Fairmount Park to install slot machines.
If lawmakers do not give the idea a green light, State Rep. Dwight Kay estimated 1,600 jobs in the
Metro East will be gone because the Collinsville park will be forced to close: 400 jobs at the track and another 600 to 1,000 surrounding jobs.
“[Getting slots] is necessary for our future and perhaps our survival,” Sloane said. “Getting slots, creating racinos, creating jobs, [adding] more race dates and revenues—that’s to the good of everybody.”