About $7 million sits in a trust account that could be released to Fairmount Park as soon as today to support the horse-racing track and its horseowners.The funds come not a moment too soon as the park has been hemorrhaging money like a grizzled gambling addict futilely trying to "win it all back with one big bet."
Lanny Brooks, executive director of the Illinois Horseman's Benevolent and Protective Association in Collinsville, said a federal judge made the decision to grant a stay of the fund through today. In 2006, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed a bill that amended the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975 and required four of the Illinois' nine casinos -- those that gross more than $200 million a year -- to pay an amount equal to 3 percent of adjusted gross receipts into a new trust fund to supplement racing purses and improvements at horse racing tracks across the state over a two-year period. But challenges in court tied up the estimated $89 million in an excrow account. Brooks said those appeals may finally have been exhausted.
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