* Anita Bedell at Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems e-mailed me the other day to ask why this part of Mark Maxwell’s story about former Gov. Jim Edgar’s kind words for JB Pritzker hasn’t received more notice…
Edgar talked fondly of Pritzker, calling him “bright” and someone who can “learn on the job.”
The two men met in 2007 when they both sat on the board of YouBet.com, an early gambling website for horse racing. Less than two years after Pritzker joined the board at YouBet, the state legalized advanced-deposit wagering, but only granted a license to four companies. YouBet was one of them. It raked in $34.7 million in its first year operating officially on the books, according to records kept by the Illinois Racing Board, though the website and operation were up and running before the state legalized it.
The company has since merged with a website called TwinSpires, a Churchill Downs entity that was also a charter member approved for a business license in Illinois. Last year, TwinSpires handled 46 percent of all legal online horse racing bets placed in Illinois.
Pritzker, like Edgar, wants to legalize sports gambling in Illinois. After a speech to the City Club of Chicago last Friday, Pritzker floated the idea as a potential revenue stream to pay for some of the items on his political wish list.
* Illinois Review…
The Courier-Journal in Kentucky reported that Churchill Downs opened Derby City Gaming, with “900 ‘instant racing’ machines similar to slot machines, and a “50 seat sports bar featuring stacks of television screens”.
Could the company be positioning the facility for sports gambling? Read more
ILCAAAP NOTE: Churchill Downs also owns Arlington Park in Illinois and has been lobbying for slot machines, table games and Internet sports gambling at racetracks.