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Illinois Lawmaker Pushing Last-Minute Effort At Gambling Expansion

Time Is Running Out For This Legislative Session


The current legislative session in Illinois ends at the end of the month, but that isn’t stopping one lawmaker from trying to push some form of gambling expansion before that window closes.

According to the Associated Press, Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat, sent a letter to leaders of the Illinois House on Monday hoping to gain support for his plan.

His bill, which aims to fix a massive budget shortfall in the state, has two options, both of which call for a casino in Chicago. One adds five casinos—including one in Chicago—and slots at horse tracks. The second option would lead to the construction of a “mega-casino” in the Windy City.

Rita’s plan faces long odds, as the governor has vetoed previous proposals of gambling expansion in the state. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also doesn’t have gambling at the top of his priority list right now, as the city’s pension system reportedly is in a crisis situation.

The budget shortfall for Illinois is estimated at $1.8 billion.

In addition to more brick-and-mortar gambling, Illinois has taken a look at authorizing web poker. In February, the state held a hearing on the issue.

Illinois currently has riverboat casinos, creating a market worth around $1.6 billion annually.

Tags: Illinois,   Gambling,   Casinos