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Arlington Park denies it played a role
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/22/2008 6:37 PM

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It didn't matter to Arlington Park officials which city was finally given the 10th casino license, said spokesman Thom Serafin.

"The state is looking for revenue, and the gaming board probably had a very good reason for going in the direction they did," he said.

The decision that awarded the license to nearby Des Plaines "was totally up to the board," Serafin said. "We never really had any part in this."

Arlington Park is in line to get millions of dollars courtesy of the Empress Casino and other suburban riverboats, thanks to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling in June.

The state's high court upheld a 2006 law that taxed the four casinos in Elgin, Aurora and Joliet and sent the money on to prop up the horse-racing industry. For the past two years, a 3 percent tax on those casinos had been in limbo as a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality wound its way through the courts.

The ruling this summer clears the way for the tracks to get their share of nearly $80 million paid by the casinos into a state account but never distributed. Arlington Park was projected to get $10.8 million a year when the deal was approved two years ago.