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Illinois Deadline To Be Extended?

Published: January 27, 2014 12:32 pm ET

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The Illinois horse racing industry is holding its collective breath that legislators will deal with the Advance Deposit Wagering impasse before the law expires on January 31. Although, according to a report, there is some optimism that the issue could be dealt with in early February.

Last week, Illinois Harness Horseman’s Association President Dave McCaffrey issued a press statement in which he said that it is imperative that Illinois legislators take time to pass the ADW bill so the Illinois Racing Board can continue to regulate horse racing in the state. McCaffrey explained that the IRB is funded by monies that come from ADW in the state.

“Without ADW funds, the IRB cannot sufficiently carry out its responsibilities,” McCaffery said. “Consequently, harness racing would see a 95 per cent reduction in racing dates, from 251 racing days in 2013 to just 13 racing days in 2014. Such dramatic cuts will effectively kill Illinois horse racing and the thousands of jobs it creates.”

An article by Crain’s Chicago Business explains that the state’s General Assembly is set to gather on Wednesday, January 29, which is the final time the Assembly is scheduled to meet before the Jan. 31 deadline.

A report by the Quad-City Times has cited a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan as saying that he is not sure whether or not the bill will be the subject of a vote on Jan. 29.

The Quad-City Times article has quoted the spokesman, Steve Brown, as saying that the ADW bill – which passed in the Senate – is “under review” and that Speaker Madigan is cognizant of the timely manner of the legislation.

The Crain’s Chicago Business report states that if the state racing board is willing to ‘give a little’ on the Jan. 31 deadline, legislators could possibly approve the ADW bill when they are schedule to next meet, which is February 4.

(With files from Crain’s Chicago Business and Quad-City Times)

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