Fairmount Park Could Cash $7-Million Ticket Today

The owners of Fairmount Park might as well have hit a superfecta, a quadrella, and a pick four in the same afternoon of betting -- the jackpot they're about to cash-in is just that huge.

Today, after nearly three years of legal wrangling, the area's only horse track will likely finally receive its state-sponsored bailout paid for by Illinois' richest casinos.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports:
About $7 million sits in a trust account that could be released to Fairmount Park as soon as today to support the horse-racing track and its horseowners.

Lanny Brooks, executive director of the Illinois Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association in Collinsville, said a federal judge made the decision to grant a stay of the fund through today. In 2006, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill that amended the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 and required four of the Illinois' nine casinos -- those that gross more than $200 million a year -- to pay an amount equal to 3 percent of adjusted gross receipts into a new trust fund to supplement racing purses and improvements at horse racing tracks across the state over a two-year period. But challenges in court tied up the estimated $89 million in an excrow account. Brooks said those appeals may finally have been exhausted.
The funds come not a moment too soon as the park has been hemorrhaging money like a grizzled gambling addict futilely trying to "win it all back with one big bet."

The track has been operating with a deficit for the past three years and is reportedly now $2 million in the hole. This past summer the racing season was cut short by more than a month when 18 scheduled dates were dropped because the track didn't have the cash to cover the purses.

The BND reports that the $7 million stimulus will be split equally among the track and horse owners.

Maybe now they can finally fix that video screen.

About The Author

Scroll to read more St. Louis Metro News articles (1)
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Riverfront Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.