When you're tallying up what didn't get to the finish line at the Statehouse this fall, don't forget horse racing. Lawmakers did not take up an extension of legalized online betting on horse races – ADW, “advanced deposit wagering.” The only hope, say horse racing interests, is for a vote if and when the legislature returns to discuss pensions before the end of the year. A leading horse trainer cites the number of competing interests.
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“You've got all these different entities trying to get what's best for them,” says Dave McCaffrey, president of the Illinois Harness Horsemen's Association. “At some point, somebody, I don't know whether it's the governor, I don't know whether it's the leadership in the Senate or the leadership in the House, or the Racing Board – I don't know. But somebody needs to say, ‘Here’s the deal.’”
McCaffrey, who says it’s bad enough Illinois does not support horse racing by allowing slot machines at tracks, says gambling supports thousands of jobs related to farming and the care of horses.