Kentucky Oaks hopeful Rayya receives a bath after morning workouts at Churchill Downs.

(Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports)

Important Discussions in Springfield Today for Future of Fairmount Park

Fairmount Park's operator says when it comes to betting on the outcome of a sporting event, they've been doing it since 1925.

October 17, 2018 - 8:35 am
Categories: 

COLLINSVILLE, Ill (KMOX) - Members of two Illinois House Committees will be meeting today, to continue discussing possible gaming expansion in the state. The folks at Fairmount Park are hoping this time they come to the aid of the struggling horse track.

Related story: Fairmount Park Opens for 93rd Season, Owners Worry They Won't Make it Through the Year

That hope comes from the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing states to legalize betting on sporting events. Track president Brian Zander says the horse racing industry is hoping to convince lawmakers to allow sports betting at the tracks, by using the same argument casinos have used to keep slot machines out of them. An Illinois bill that would have allowed horse tracks, airports and some bars to be gaming positions failed earlier this year. 

"I have to give them credit, they've been successful now for 18 or 19 years when we've said 'Well, we'd like to have slot machines.' They've said, 'Really that's our game, that's not yours,'" Zander says. "Now here comes sports betting along." 

Related story: What Legal Sports Betting Means Nationwide, For Fairmount Park

Zander says when it comes to betting on the outcome of a sporting event, Fairmount has been doing it since 1925. He hopes the Illinois lawmakers will agree that making all sports betting legal at horse tracks makes sense. 

In addition to sports betting, today's hearing in Springfield will include discussions on online and internet gaming and fantasy sports. 

Zander and fellow track owners have been telling lawmakers for decades that they need to allow slot machines at tracks to compete with the state's 10 casino licenses. He stated at the beginning of this year's race season that he was conerned that the track would close before the end of the year due to financial issues.