gambling expansion

Illinois Senate Considers Expanded Gambling Bill

Jan 26, 2017
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The Illinois Senate began hearings Wednesday on a gambling expansion bill that calls for new casinos in Rockford, Chicago and its south suburbs, Danville, Lake County, and Williamson.  Critics say the market is oversaturated with riverboats and video gaming.  But Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee, says buses of people still are leaving the state to gamble.  

"I have a funny feeling those buses might be empty when Lake County, Rockford, Danville, and Chicago end up with a casino," he said, "because I think you're going to stop a lot of that exporting of our money to those other states."

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Online betting on horse-races would continue to be legal in Illinois, under legislation advancing at the state capitol.

That's despite concerns of anti-gambling activities like Anita Bedell.

"This legalizes bookmaking on the internet, which is available 7 days a week non stop," she said at a recent Senate hearing.

Without legislative action, that authority expires early next year.

The measure is one of several up for debate that affects the gambling industry.


 Illinois lawmakers have several ideas for revenue sources as they work on a framework for a balanced state budget.

The legislature have about two weeks left to agree on a new plan, or risk taking the state into a new phase of uncertainty and political gamesmanship. After May 31, it takes a supermajority to pass a budget.

A bipartisan group of legislators came together, and last week presented the governor and legislative leaders with a menu of options for getting to a balanced budget.

Lawmaker Restarts Gambling Expansion Talks

Oct 24, 2013

A Chicago-area legislator is trying to re-start negotiations over a big expansion of gambling.

Gambling was a big issue earlier this year, but negotiations fell apart in May, at the end of the spring legislative session. Since then, attention has moved to other issues, like the state's underfunded pension systems, according to  Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, and nothing has happened on gaming expansion.

So he held a hearing in which people with an interest in gambling could say where they stand. He acknowledges that little has changed since the spring.

Larry Morrissey

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has outlined his plan for dividing revenues for a proposed casino. Morrissey wants the city to keep 70 percent of revenues, with the remaining 30 percent going to the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning.  State lawmakers are debating a gambling expansion plan that includes a Rockford casino. Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen calls the proposal "one-sided."