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Slots at racetracks will keep good jobs here in Illinois

If a large company talked about leaving Illinois and taking their jobs with them, we would bend over backwards to keep them here.

That's what's at stake with pending legislation to allow slots at racetracks. With all due respect to Anita Bedell in her Oct. 29 letter, "Tripling casino gambling would raise social costs," she fails to understand how this legislation can help an industry that involves far more than just horsemen.

We're talking about tens of thousands of workers in the agribusiness industry, including trainers, jockeys, drivers, breeders and thousands of ancillary jobs such as grooms, blacksmiths, vets, hay farmers and shipping companies.

We should also mention the waiters and bartenders at the tracks, and many other employees who would be affected if the horsemen leave Illinois for other states where slots are allowed at racetracks.

We are not asking for a subsidy. We are not asking for the state to bail us out. We are asking to be put on a level playing field with other states, such as Indiana, Pennsylvania and New York, which have added gaming to their facilities while increasing jobs in their state.

Tony Somone,

executive director,

Illinois Harness Horsemen