Public Accountability Report Public Accountability Report

Illinois Racing Board
(Appropriated Spending in Thousands)
  FY 2021 FY 2020
Reporting Programs Expenditures Headcount Expenditures Headcount
Racing Board $ 4,230.8 12.0 $ 4,104.9 11.0
Totals $ 4,230.8 12.0 $ 4,104.9 11.0

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Agency Narrative

The Illinois Racing Board consists of 11 members appointed to six-year terms by the Governor. The Board is statutorily responsible for the enforcement of the Illinois Horse Racing Act of 1975, which governs horse racing; and for the execution of all provisions and purposes under the Act. Each year the Board awards racing dates among the racetrack applicants and establishes an overall racing schedule for both thoroughbred and standardbred race meets, consistent with the best interests of Illinois horse racing and the State of Illinois. The legislative intent of the Act is to stimulate growth within the industry; to produce additional tax revenues and create additional jobs within the agribusiness industry; to ensure that Illinois’ horse racing industry remains competitive with neighboring states; to promote the further growth of tourism; and to ensure public confidence and trust in the credibility and integrity of racing operations and that the regulatory process is maintained.

The Board is authorized to issue up to 43 inter-track wagering location licenses (OTBs). Currently, there are 21 OTBs in operation in addition to the three racetracks located within Illinois. As of 2009, advance deposit wagering (ADW) has been allowed in Illinois. ADW licenses are granted to companies providing wagering via electronic means, such as internet and phone. Currently, there are five ADWs licensed and operating in Illinois.

As an extension of conducting live racing and wagering, organization licensees are also authorized to offer wagering on races conducted outside Illinois (interstate simulcasting) and accept and combine wagers from outside Illinois on races conducted in Illinois (interstate comingled pools). The Board is also responsible for the audit and verification of all pari-mutuel horse racing revenues and receipts, and for the collection and disbursement of all fees and taxes generated from pari-mutuel horse racing.

The racing industry in Illinois, as across the nation, has suffered severe declines in wagering handle and in resulting state revenues. The Board's sole funding source is derived from pari-mutuel taxes and other taxes in Illinois. Even with the limited resources available to the Board to regulate the sport, we have been successful in maintaining the honesty and integrity of horse racing and pari-mutuel wagering in Illinois. The Board continues to operate and oversee pari-mutuel horse racing without any regulatory controversy while at the same time ensuring the public’s full confidence in the sport of pari-mutuel horse racing.

Permitted race day medication policies and the potential for horse doping is one of the most important responsibilities of regulating pari-mutuel horse racing. As advances in laboratory drug testing continue, trace/residual levels of therapeutic medications are being detected at a level in parts per billion. These minuscule levels may have no pharmacological effect on the performance of the horse, although a medication violation can trigger civil penalties, purse redistributions, and suspensions. As a matter of fairness to the horsemen participating in Illinois racing, and with strong consideration for the betting public’s perception of fair and honest racing in Illinois, the Board has amended a significant number of its medication rules by adopting the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) threshold levels for therapeutic medications. This was accomplished following extensive research by ARCI and the Racing Medication Testing Consortium.

The Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA) was passed as a part of S.B. 4547. HISA mandates uniform and expanded anti-doping and medication policies by creating an independent, nongovernmental anti-doping authority. However, the costs to the state associated with this new law have not been explained. This legislation may impact how pre- and postrace samples are collected, stored, delivered, tested, and reported. Since a structure has not yet been finalized, it is still difficult to assess the financial impact it may have to the regulatory operations. Under existing laws in Illinois, our costs for lab testing of samples collected are approximately $900,000.

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