Illinois’ horse racing industry is making a move to add a type of video gambling at its tracks.

The idea is called “historical horse racing” and it allows players to bet on random past races without knowing the names of the horses or which race it was.

Opponents say it would equate to having slot machines. Proponents say it is just another form of horse racing.

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Illinois Racing Board Executive Director Domenic DiCera said “HHR” is a move to compete since the tracks have been cut out of slots and other gaming.

“They need that lifeline and the expansion of gaming in their facility and they haven’t been successfully receiving that through the legislature,” Dicera said.

“Historical horse racing” or “HHR” is not a new concept. DiCera said it’s successful in several states.

“It’s prominent in five states that I can think of right now,” he said. “The model would probably be Kentucky.”

The industry has tried unsuccessfully for years to get slot machines and other games at the tracks. The idea is meant to bring income to their struggling bottom lines. The idea of “HHR” is just in the conceptual stage now, DiCera stated.

“It would continue considering this concept but they haven’t weighed in on any rules, none have been developed,” he said. “This is just something that is forthcoming, I suppose.”

The idea first surfaced in 2014, but didn’t gain traction, he said.

“And here we are today where they resurrected probably and most likely because of the lack of movement with any gaming expansion,” DiCera said.

Illinois has legalized more gambling over the years, but has not allowed slot machines or table games at horse racing tracks. The board decided to allow the committee to continue to explore the idea of “HHR” despite questions about whether its addition in Illinois would be permitted without approval from the state legislature.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)


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