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Illinois Gaming Bill To Be Pared Down?

Published: June 13, 2011 11:48 am ET

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Legislation which would bring a massive expansion in gaming in the state of Illinois, including the conversion of racetracks into racinos, is currently sitting on the desk of Governor Pat Quinn. Although, according to a report, state senators are attempting to reduce the size of the expansion in hopes of getting the bill passed.

An article by the Chicago Tribune states that the paring of the bill is being attempted to thwart a veto from the governor, who has gone on the record as saying that the size of the expansion in the legislation is over the top.

The report has quoted Senator Terry Link, who sponsored the bill, as saying, "The governor has indicated very strongly that he wants to see a reduction, he doesn't want to see it as big." Link was also quoted as saying, "So his message was loud and clear to us, and we have to see how we can do this to appease what his concerns are."

The gaming expansion would see Illinois become the home of five new casinos. Existing casinos would be able to expand their operations and all of the state's raceways would be able to erect an area for slot machine gaming. In addition, slots would be installed at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and at Chicago airports. Existing riverboats would be able to add more gambling spots and move to land.

Representative Lou Lang, who sponsored the bill in the House, was quoted as saying that he is concerned about alterations to the measure.

"I've been working on this bill for 20 years, and I finally found the right combination," Lang was quoted as saying. "If slots at tracks come off, you can't pass the bill. If the money for downstate agriculture comes off, you can't pass the bill. If you take out casinos for Danville and Rockford, it might damage the ability to pass the bill."

(With files from the Chicago Tribune)

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