Arlington Heights Village Board: Informal Majority Supports Arlington Park Racetrack Slots

A letter to Illinois State legislators is being drafted by Village President Arlene Mulder in support of slots at Arlington Park Racetrack. The letter is pending approval. Unless four of eight trustees reject the content of the letter and call for a special meeting Monday, May 23, 2011, the letter will be sent to State of Illinois legislators.


VILLAGE BOARD STANCE …
Mayor Arlene Mulder … “it is important to support ways to keep the track viable and critical to “preserve Arlington Park and all that it provides,” in a draft letter she is writing on behalf of the village board.

Joseph Farwell … urged the board to take a stand. Conducted an ‘unscientific’ informal survey on his Facebook page — the majority of participants were in favor of slots.

John Scaletta … … would vote ‘Yes’.

Carol Blackwood … in favor of the slot machines.

Burt Rosenberg … jobs and the traffic the Arlington Park Racetrack brings to small businesses in the village make it critical to keep it open.

Norm Breyer … opponents should bring viable alternative.

Michael Sidor … generally negative … not opposed to vigorous discussion.

Thomas Hayes … Trustee Thomas Hayes, the only board member who strongly opposes proposals to expand gambling with 1,200 slot machines in a separate building … urges community to consider what Churchill Downs has built at Calder Casino and Racecourse in Florida. Churchill Downs owns Arlington Park.

Thomas Glasgow … absent.

I actually find it crazy it’s even a subject in an establishment that already caters to gambling in a city that was put on the map from gambling. Sorry, just my opinion!

— Commenter on Trustee Farwell’s Facebook page

No intense opposition has been presented or expressed against the approval of slots at Arlington Park by citizens. Small scale opposition expressed has been along the lines of the downside of gambling and a perceived change of character of Arlington Heights to a village with “casino town” reputation. In 1995 an intense, non-binding referendum over expanded casino-like gambling was narrowly approved by residents.

A survey conducted May 1-2, 2011 by Public Opinion Strategies questioned 400 registered voters was paid for by Arlington Park, and resulted in the following figures:

86% of residents have a favorable image of Arlington Park
7% of residents have an unfavorable image of Arlington Park
59% of Republicans supports slots at Arlington Park
35% of Republican oppose slots at Arlington Park
66% of Democrats support slots at Arlington Park
30% of Democrats oppose slots at Arlington Park
62% of Independents support slots at Arlington Park
27% of Independents oppose slots at Arlington Park

Race tracks nationwide have added slot machines to compete with lower overhead gambling operations that have been established in their markets.

State Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican; Sidney Mathias, Republican from Buffalo Grove; Tom Morrison, Palatine Republican; and Fred Crespo, Democrat from Hoffman Estates, all said Monday, May 9, 2011 that the board should take a stand.

See also …
The Cardinal Calabrese Gone; Village Board Polled on Slots at Arlington Park: Where Do They Stand?