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Race tracks don't merit slot machines<
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 6/6/2008 12:01 AM

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On Sunday, the Illinois Channel presented a program stressing the call for slot machines at horse race tracks.

The speakers stressed the need for revenue from slot machines at horse race tracks to increase the purses awarded and stimulate horse racing in Illinois.

They suggested that the horse race industry provides 3,000 jobs.

The popularity of horse racing has diminished over the years; there are only six horse tracks in Illinois, controlled by three family groups.

Conversely, there are over 25 motor sport tracks in the state, demonstrating a shift in sporting event preferences.

The racing industry complains that casinos in neighboring states have drawn customers from their tracks.

This is not true. The attendance was down at horse racing tracks prior to the first casino being built in this state or neighboring state.

The 3,000 jobs are a myth. Most race track employees are migrants, paid by out of state employers who follow the racing circuit from track to track without paying state or local taxes.

The owners get revenue from state-operated off-track-betting facilities and want a subsidy from casinos or slot machines to increase their profits.

Those monies could be better used by our fiscally defunct state rather then supporting a popularity-decreasing sporting event.

John Culloton