Slot Machine

Slot Machine

Anne M. Eberhardt

Illinois Casino Legislation Back in Play

Legislation calling for racetrack slots is back in play in Illinois.

Legislation calling for a huge expansion of legalized gambling in Illinois is headed to the House floor after a similar bill failed earlier in the week of May 22.

The proposal, which passed the House Executive Committee by an 8-3 vote May 27, would create licenses for five new riverboat gambling casinos and a gambling boat or land-based casino in Chicago. It also would allow racetracks, including the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, to add slot machines.

The same committee failed to pass the legislation earlier because of language involving collective bargaining. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang, was amended thereafter.

Gov. Pat Quinn said he opposes "top-heavy" gambling expansion, and he frowned on gambling at the fairgrounds. The state fair holds a short harness meet each summer, but proponents of the bill would like live racing and full-card simulcasts expanded at the facility.
Lobbyists for existing riverboat casinos oppose the measure. They claim the market is saturated and state revenue would drop at existing casinos.