Illinois lawmakers have approved an extension of an online betting law in time to allow horse racing tracks to keep their racing schedules intact this year. The measure passed the Senate 47-4 today. The House voted 98-10. The legislation allowing online betting had been set to expire Friday. Racing board officials had predicted major budget cuts without an extension. That could have limited their oversight ability and forced racetracks to cut the number of horse races. The three-year extension includes a surcharge on wagering. Horse racing advocates say the fix is temporary. They pin the long-term future of the industry on allowing slot machines at racetracks, in order to compete with Illinois casinos and out-of-state tracks that allow slots.
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