Casino group to buy Fairmount Park pending approval of slots

EAST ST. LOUIS (AP) — The owners of an East St. Louis casino plan to purchase the struggling Fairmount Park racetrack, provided Illinois lawmakers agree to allow a gambling expansion that would bring slot machines to the state’s five horse racing venues.

Employee-owned CQ Holdings Inc., owner of the riverfront Casino Queen, on Tuesday announced a tentative agreement to buy the 90-year-old track located eight miles to the east in Collinsville.

The deal comes as lawmakers again are considering an expansion of gambling that could include a Chicago casino before their spring session ends this week. Racing industry officials want approval to add slots to keep up with nearby states that have already paired casinos with ponies.

East St. Louis casino and city officials had been opponents of slots at Fairmount Park, fearing revenue losses.