It's Past Time for AP/CDI to Renew
Its Support for Slots at Tracks Agreement
Message from ITHA Legislative Committee
Dear Fellow Horsemen:
Five years ago, representatives of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, Arlington Park/Churchill Downs Inc., and other industry leaders met and negotiated the terms of the agreement that would become of the basis of the slots-at-tracks bills that lawmakers have since approved.
Though the state's previous governor, unfortunately, twice vetoed that legislation, the ITHA and other horse racing stakeholders are continuing to advocate for final passage of that plan. Once approved and implemented, slots at tracks will improve our purses and, in doing so, position Illinois racing to again compete with racing in other states already using slot revenue to enhance purses.
But conspicuously absent from the voices publicly advocating for passage of that gaming bill during this spring session is AP/CDI. Though the ITHA, Hawthorne Racecourse, the Illinois Harness Horseman's Association, and other organizations with a direct interest in that legislation are unequivocal in our commitment to the terms we brokered in 2010, AP/CDI - the same entity fond of admonishing others across the industry to stay in unity - has declined to publicly renew its support.
Indeed, in light of AP/CDI's incessant refusal to negotiate with the ITHA in good faith over a contract with owners and trainers for the 2015 season, we must wonder whether AP/CDI is deliberately scuttling contract negotiations to hamstring horsemen and distract attention from efforts to obstruct the slots-at-tracks agreement. (In a recent racing industry meeting on gaming, an AP/CDI official advised that the agreed gaming bill does not meet its desired "return on investment.")
Membership For Updates On The ITHA/AP Contract And Other Horsemen News
Click Here And Forward This Message To Fellow Horsemen
The agreed slots-at-tracks legislation includes three provisions, in particular, embodying the priorities of Illinois horsemen:
- Agreed rates to support purses.
- Guaranteed live racing opportunities.
- Elimination of recapture. (In 2014, Illinois tracks took an estimated $13.19 million in recapture subsidies - dollars removed from horsemen purses to subsidize track operations.)
It may be the case that AP/CDI continues to honor its agreement to these terms but that, for reasons that are not clear, it is refraining from stating that publicly. Or it may be the case that AP/CDI has abandoned its agreement - in which case all Illinois horsemen, as well as all of the other parties that negotiated those terms with AP/CDI, deserve to know exactly where AP/CDI now stands - and whether it is now advocating for terms against our interests.
The stakes are far too high for the Illinois horse racing industry, and the tens of thousands of jobs that we support across Illinois, for us not to know who's on board and who is not.
The ITHA Legislative Committee:
President Mike Campbell
Vice-President Chris Block
Executive Director Glen Berman