Fight Continues for Slot Machines at Fairmount Park

Brad Choat (@choatsnews)

COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (KMOX) – Fairmount Park in Collinsville supports 1,400 local jobs.

That’s a figure tossed out at a recent town hall meeting hosted by State Representative Dwight Kay.

The Glen Carbon Republican is fighting to have the facility included in Illinois’ plan for slot machines at horse racing tracks.

Kay says Democrat Jay Hoffman of Swansea filed an amendment to the so-called Illinois “raceino” bill that would keep Fairmount in the mix. Kay then filed an amendment to give Collinsville a higher percentage of distribution than Alton and East St. Louis.

Kay says Fairmount Park is one attraction that draws in significant revenue from Missourians, unlike Metro-East casinos.

“I have on my desk in Springfield 3,000 petition signatures,” he says. “I would say 45 to 50 percent of the people that signed their signatures on Fairness for Fairmount are from St. Louis.”

Wendy Valenti from the Collinsville Chamber of Commerce says up to 70 percent of Fairmount Park’s attendees come from the other side of the river.

She’s asking the public to visit the “Fairness For Fairmount” Facebook page and to call their lawmakers in support of keeping the track open. She says Missourians can provide input, too, even if they can’t vote for the legislators.

Rep. Kay says he has a pledge from GOP leaders that they will vote against any slot machine bill that does not include Fairmount Park.

He’s hopeful some downstate Democrats will pledge the same.

Lanny Brooks with the Horseman’s Association at Fairmount is hopeful those Democrats and their legislative leaders realize the out-of-state revenue the track brings in.

“We draw a lot of Missouri’s money over to Illinois, and that’s what they’d like to hear,” he says. “We’re going to go away if we’re not included in the slot bill.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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