“There’s going to have to be new buildings” to house the additional gambling options, Fairmount president Brian Zander said. “We’re looking
at $50 million to start with.”
Zander was interviewed after Pritzker spoke briefly to the afternoon race crowd and then to reporters about the expansion bill passed last
month by the Illinois Legislature with the governor’s support.Pritzker,
in his remarks to the crowd, focused on the likely expansion of racing
days at Fairmount to 100 a year from the current 41 under the bill.
The governor said the measure means “more horses, more races, more days — and that means more jobs to this area.”
He also referred to the gambling expansion’s part in helping pay for a $45 billion state construction program also passed by the Legislature
and signed by Pritzker.
That, he said, will “help us to build new roads and bridges and universities and community colleges … and that brings more jobs, better
education and a better life for working families.”The governor also
thanked several Metro East lawmakers for supporting the bill.
Fairmount and two Chicago area race tracks had been pushing for decades for the legal authority to offer casino-type games as a way of
expanding their market and revenue bases.Zander said Fairmount had
struggled in recent years partly because of its inability to offer
purses for winning horses closer in size to those available at race
tracks in some nearby states where slot machines already are allowed.