05/06/2003 11:00PM

Slots proposal in Illinois


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - A proposal that would bring slot machines to Illinois racetracks was unveiled Wednesday in the Illinois state legislature.

State representative Lou Lang, chairman of the House Select Committee on Gaming, proposed legislation that would authorize 3,200 slot machines to be distributed among the state's five racetracks. Lang's proposal also would increase the number of gambling machines at existing riverboat casinos, legalize video poker machines, and award a riverboat casino license to the city of Chicago.

Under the proposal, Arlington would receive 1,000 slots, Hawthorne 900, Maywood Park 700, Balmoral Park 300, and downstate Fairmount Park 300.

Lang proposed that horsemen's purse accounts receive 15 percent of the revenue from ontrack slots. That is lower than the 20 percent figure bandied about this spring by Thoroughbred horsemen, but Joe Kasperski, head of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association said, "I think we could live with that."

Lang said his proposal would generate between $1.772 billion and $2.647 billion in state revenue in the fiscal year 2004.