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|Chicago Casion Proposal Headed to Governor's Desk
|(IRN)-A measure to widely expand gambling in Illinois is on its way to the governor. At stake is five new casino licenses, an increase in slot machines at existing casinos slot machines at race tracks (dubbed "racinos"), plus slot machines at Chicago's two airports.
1,200 new slots would be allowed at Cook County race tracks, such as Arlington, and 900 would be allowed at Downstate tracks, such as the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The new casino licenses would be awarded to Chicago, the south suburbs, Park City (near Waukegan), Danville and Rockford.
State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), one of several senators who represents border communities, says this will help take back money that rightfully belongs in Illinois. "We watch tons of buses go from hotels to Indiana," says Martinez. "All of our money that should be spent in the state of Illinois is going to Indiana. Chicago needs a casino."
Gov. Pat Quinn has mentioned a number of times he doesn't want Illinois to become the "Las Vegas of the Midwest," but he has not been clear on whether he'd veto the measure.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who voted "no," says it doesn't pass muster, and the governor will surely wield his veto pen. "I don't think this is quite done," he says. "I think when the bill is in the proper form, and they bring it back, I think we'll pass a bill we can all be proud of. Not just a bill that takes care of every special interest in the United States."
It's expected the additional gambling locations would generate between $760 million and $1 billion annually. An initial $1.6 billion would be gathered right away from up-front licensing fees, initial fees and reconciliation payments among other sources. That money would be used to pay past-due bills.
The increased gambling would also provide tens of millions of dollars for Downstate interests, such as soil and water conservation districts, state historic sites and botanical gardens.
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|06 01 11 by Newsroom
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