Tracks Struggle as Casinos Make Inroads

By Fred Faust Of The Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), July 22, 1996 | Go to article overview

Tracks Struggle as Casinos Make Inroads


Fred Faust Of The Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The spread of casinos may have hit a plateau, but in five years it's already done plenty of damage to many of the country's racetracks. Particularly in the Midwest, track owners are desperately lobbying for the right to compete by adding slot machines to their parimutuel action.

"Most tracks are now looking at a nearby casino, or if not, they're looking at a bus full of people going toward a casino," said Eric Jackson, general manager of Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. "We never had to compete against anything like this in the past."

Oaklawn Park has been owned by the family of St. Louisan Charles Cella since it opened in 1904. In the last three years, Cella has subsidized his track, kicking in $2.5 million to keep the purses high enough to attract the owners of top race horses.

In that time, Tunica, Miss., 200 miles east of Hot Springs, has emerged as a major casino center.

Business leaders in Hot Springs lobbied successfully to get a referendum on the November ballot that would give Hot Springs voters a local option on casinos. If state, and then local, voters approve, Oaklawn could add a casino.

But the law also would permit two other casinos in Hot Springs, so Cella's track still could be in a competitive situation.

Brian Zander, general manager of Fairmount Park in Collinsville, is a registered lobbyist in Illinois. He's hoping that the 1997 session of the Legislature will finally give track owners a shot at casino gambling.

Zander knows about competing against casinos. Fairmount is seven miles from the Casino Queen, nine miles from the Admiral and 30 miles from the Alton Belle.

"If this number of casinos were this close to the Chicago tracks," he said, "maybe they'd make more noise."

The owners of one Chicago area track, Arlington International Racecourse, have been fighting for changes since Illinois legislators first approved riverboat gambling in 1990. Richard and Craig Duchoissois have waged an often bitter struggle to ease the tax burdens on track owners and to permit them to have slot machines.

"Without the creation of a level playing field, horse racing will die in Illinois," Craig Duchoissois said. His family has invested more than $200 million in Arlington, one of North America's premier tracks.

The track's total operating losses since it reopened in 1989 after a fire have reached almost $70 million, said General Manager Scott Mordell.

A Taxing Situation

Tracks in Illinois pay a hodgepodge of gambling taxes that makes comparison difficult with the taxes on riverboat casinos. But Mordell said that, based on all wagering activity, tracks pay about 4.4 percent and casinos 2.3 percent.

In addition, tracks occupy far more acres of real estate. So their property brings higher real estate taxes than the land that supports riverboat casinos.

Duchoissois said Arlington pays $5.7 million a year in property tax. The Empress Casino in Joliet - one of the country's most profitable riverboats - pays about $500,000 in property tax, he said.

Duchoissois and Zander said the taxes and regulations of tracks in Illinois are left over from the days when they had a monopoly on legal betting. But after the legalization of bingo, and then the lottery and then riverboat gambling, the monopoly days are long gone.

Changing any laws dealing with gambling in Illinois is complicated by powerful and often competing interests. Many Chicago political leaders want some form of casino gambling in their city, while the boat owners and their local allies want to be free of the requirement that all boats cruise.

Since mid-June, three floating casinos have opened on the Indiana side of metropolitan Chicago. Zander hopes that the siphoning of Chicago gambling dollars to Indiana will spur Illinois legislators to change many of the rules, including those for tracks. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Tracks Struggle as Casinos Make Inroads
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.