Park Lobbies

Arlington Park Lobbies for Slot Machines

On May 14th, 2009, up to one thousand slot machines could be installed to Arlington Park racing track whether Arlington Heights approves it or not. An amendment approved on Thursday by a state Senate committee would allow riverboat casino facilities to collaborate with Illinois racing tracks to install between 350 and 1,000 slot machines at horse racing tracks.

The tracks would receive a percentage of the slot machine earnings but the machines would be owned and managed by the riverboat companies. Yet some local legislators have some issues with the slots idea. State Senator Matt Murphy, a Republican from Palatine whose district includes Arlington Park said that there are a lot of problems with this proposal; one of them is requiring the people he represents to accept something without having any say on it.

Arlington Heights officials have been opposed to having slot machines installed at Arlington Park, according to Village Manager Bill Dixon. In 1997, the village board passed a nonbinding resolution opposing the installation of slot machines at the racing track. But recently, village board members soften their position so long as the board gets to make the decision regarding slot machines, not the state. However, this proposal would permit slot machines at Arlington Park regardless of what the village decides.

Versions of this proposal have surfaced almost yet but have yet to be approved by officials. Dixon said that Arlington Heights, like other communities, objective to having its authority dismissed on this subject. The slot machine proposal is one of the factors of a major gaming expansion plan that would also permit three new casinos in Park City, Chicago and Rockford.

The Park City and Rockford casinos could offer 2,000 gambling positions, which are up from the current maximum of 1,200 gambling positions, while the Chicago casino facility would be permitted to offer 4,000 gambling positions. But the gaming plan is not yet finalized. The vice president of Arlington Park, Jim Stumpf urged legislators to vote against the proposals over concerns of how revenues from slot machines will be distributed.