05/31/2005 11:00PM

No slots bill in Illinois


The Illinois state legislature passed a budget late Tuesday night, with racetracks once again left on the sidelines.

Early last week, conditions seemed ripe for the legislature to act on one of two proposals that would have brought an infusion of revenue to the state's tracks. A plan had been floated in the Senate that could have introduced ontrack slots machines. In the House, there was a proposal to amplify existing riverboat gaming operations, with tracks getting 3 percent of the adjusted gross revenue from the state's casinos.

In the end, a yawning gap between the state's revenue and expenditures was closed by dipping into state pension funds, not through an expansion of gaming, and Illinois tracks will continue operating in the same landscape as in the past several years. Purses have stagnated, and Arlington began its 2005 meet in May with purse levels set below last season's.