Latest Panacea for Fairmount Park: Internet Gambling

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After trying for years to get slot machines at tracks, the Illinois horse-racing community is hoping the next-best thing will help the troubled industry. 

Yesterday the Illinois Racing Board legalized online gambling for horse racing. As the Belleville News-Democrat reports this morning, the racing board approved three online companies to handle the bets for the state's five race tracks. 

The company TVG (www.tvg.com) has partnered with Fairmount Park. A portion of all horse bets placed through the website by Illinois gamblers will go to the Metro East race track. All told the online betting could provide million for Illinois horse tracks.  

"We're all excited about it," Lenny Brooks, executive director of the Illinois Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association in Collinsville told the Belleville newspaper. "It's a landmark day in Illinois. We finally got something right, I think."

Financial woes have decreased the quality of the horses raced at Fairmount Park in recent years and shortened the overall season. In 2007 the track had 90 days of live racing. This year it had just 57 and next year it will have 52 or fewer.

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