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Saturday, May 9, 2015

Psst Buddy... Wanna Buy a Track?

If given the approval of a Bankruptcy Court judge, Balmoral and Maywood Parks may be going under the hammer, put up for sale to help settle the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Case of the Johnston family.  Track ownership needs to hire an investment banker by June 29 to help look for potential buyers.

This doesn't bode well for harness racing in the Prairie state.  After all, do you know many people looking to buy a harness track lately, especially in one where getting slot machines seems to be an exercise in heartbreak.  This year, the General Assembly is in session to May 31.  Unlike past efforts, the new Governor doesn't object to casinos, but as of now, there is no current bill working its way through the legislature.  

I am sure one day slots will come to race tracks in the state as they did in Delaware, hopefully sooner than later so there isn't a similar situation as when Brandywine closed up for good before the state finally agreed to authorize them.  Without the right to operate racinos, it would hard to see any bidders looking to buy the track(s) for racing; potential bidders likely would be looking to redevelop the properties.  Should redevelopment comes to both tracks, for all practical purposes wipe out harness racing in Illinois, for while there is a fair circuit, how long would it survive without parimutuel wagering at the Chi-town tracks?

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