The Illinois Racing Board is moving ahead with plans to introduce a form of video gambling on past horse races despite legal questions.
The board agreed Thursday to develop a set of rules that will govern “historical horse racing” at racetracks, the Chicago Tribune reported. The board began looking into video racing last month at the request of some racetrack operators.
The latest proposed expansion of gambling has raised questions as to whether it could be introduced without approval from state lawmakers.
The racing terminals resemble video gambling machines. They randomly choose from thousands of past horse races and offer bets on each race along with odds and past performance information the horses. The names of the horses and the race are kept concealed from the bettor after the wager is placed. The race video is played, but players can bypass the race and go straight the results.
Opponents of the measure have said it would be the equivalent of slot-machine gambling at tracks. Track owners have tried unsuccessfully for nearly 20 years to get lawmakers to allow casino-type gambling at their parks.
Advocates have argued that the process would be the same as regular horse racing games.
Board member Robert Schiewe Jr. said the race industry is “out of time” and needs the new method of gambling.
In agreement was board member Tom McCauley, who said the state’s racing industry “is in a desperate economic condition.”