Fairmount Park Racetrack

(photo courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment)

A hearing at the Casino Queen in East Saint Louis Tuesday will kick off an Illinois lawmaker’s renewed efforts to expand gambling in the state.

Rep. Bob Rita of Blue Island is reviving a proposal to increase state tax revenues by allowing five new casinos in Illinois, in northern and central Illinois, and add slot machines at horse racing tracks and Chicago airports. 

Rita says he’s following up on a promise he made to conduct regional hearings after the proposal he shouldered last year stalled.

(Robert Altman)

Fairmount Park Racetrack in the Metro East is getting 67 race days next year.

The Illinois Racing Board approved the race dates Tuesday.

This year Fairmount was awarded 75 days and raced 69.

But both the track and horsemen say they’re happy with next year’s 67-day schedule, which they requested.

Fairmount will be offering bigger purses for winner horses next year, and spokesman Jon Sloane says that’s good for the track.