Illinois casinos could soon allow gambling at all times. The Illinois Gaming Board currently requires casinos to close for at least two hours a day, but is considering a plan that would allow owners the option to operate around the clock. 24-hour gaming is currently allowed at truck stops, and if the same is allowed in casinos, Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association says the state will reap the economic benefits.
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“Truck stops currently pay 30 percent on their taxes on revenues. Ours go as high as 50 percent,” Swoik said. Opponents of the change say those extra hours would be disastrous for compulsive gamblers. “Some people will continue to gamble for days on end,” said Anita Bedell of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems. “The casinos won’t stop people from gambling because those are their best customers.”
Swoik dismisses those concerns, saying that when Illinois casinos close, compulsive gamblers can already go to truck stops or cross state lines to gamble at 24-hour casinos in Missouri, Indiana, and Iowa. The issue will be discussed at the Illinois Gaming Board’s meeting on Sept. 19.