01/26/2010 1:00AM

Illinois sets account-wagering fees

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The Illinois Racing Board during a Tuesday meeting in Chicago voted to cap at 5 percent the interstate commission fees charged by account-wagering companies operating in the state.

When the Illinois legislature voted last year to permit account wagering, it charged the IRB with setting a cap on fees. Two different fee structures had been proposed going into Tuesday's meeting, with Arlington Park and the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association asking for a 9 percent fee cap and the rest of the state's tracks and horsemen's organizations backing a 5 percent cap.

The higher the account-wagering commission fees, the less money from each bet taken goes into Illinois racetrack purse accounts, but Arlington is owned by Churchill Downs Inc., which has an ownership stake in TrackNet Media LLC, which controls the rights to simulcast signals. A TrackNet representative, Scott Daruty, went before the IRB on Tuesday to argue for the higher cap, at one point suggesting that were the board to set rates lower than 9 percent, TrackNet would take punitive measures in the state. Daruty's position met with stiff resistance from the board, and a motion capping commission fees at 5 percent was soon made, seconded, and unanimously approved.