Balmoral Racing Club, Inc. and Maywood Park Trotting Association, Inc., two of the oldest horse racing venues in the country and the only harness racing tracks in Illinois, announced today that each has voluntarily commenced Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization cases in Chicago.
The filings are in response to a judgment entered against the tracks on December 11, 2014 in favour of the state’s four largest riverboat casinos. The suit arises out of 2008 legislation, which extended a three percent tax on these casinos’ adjusted gross receipts and was found constitutional by a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court decision in 2009.
The tax was designed by the Illinois Legislature to impose an impact fee on the riverboat casinos and direct these funds to the horse racing industry, including all five Illinois racetracks and the horsemen racing at these tracks. The purpose of the impact fee was to offset a portion of the financial losses the tracks and horsemen incurred when riverboat gambling licenses were granted in the Illinois sanctioned and regulated gaming marketplace.
Balmoral Racing Club, Inc. and Maywood Park Trotting Association, Inc. will appeal the judgment, while also seeking to reorganize under the protection of Chapter 11. Balmoral and Maywood Racetracks intend to continue normal operations and race schedules throughout the process. Both tracks assure customers, horsemen and suppliers that they will continue to offer the superior facilities and experience they have provided for decades.
The filings are necessary to preserve the value of the businesses and to ensure continued operations, Balmoral and Maywood Racetracks remain critical to the Illinois Horse Racing Industry. They provide jobs, opportunities and enjoyment to thousands of people. The tracks are Chicagoland institutions and help promote tourism and agriculture in Illinois. The voluntary Chapter 11 filings will give the tracks sufficient breathing room to continue working through the process. All of their efforts are focused on concluding this process in an efficient and successful manner.
The tracks intend to work with all key constituents to conduct an orderly restructuring to maximize their asset values and to emerge from Chapter 11 in the quickest and most efficient manner possible.