Illinois lawmakers have not forgotten about a gambling bill. A House committee listened to testimony from those for and against Wednesday, five months after the legislature adjourned for the summer without taking it up. Under consideration would be five new casinos, including Danville, Rockford, the Waukegan area, the south suburbs of Chicago, and a city-owned casino in Chicago. Who would regulate it is at issue.
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“Frankly, we would prefer that the Chicago casino be regulated the same as all of the other 10 Illinois casinos,” said Illinois Gaming Board lobbyist Caleb Melamed, “with state regulation solely under the jurisdiction of the IGB.” The placement of the new casinos would, advocates say, help impoverished communities and stop Illinois gamblers from driving to Indiana or Wisconsin. Slot machines would be installed at race tracks and at Chicago's two airports.
“Gambling has not solved and cannot solve the financial problems for this state,” said anti-gambling advocate Anita Bedell, “and a massive expansion of gambling will increase addiction, bankruptcy, social problems, and crime.” The bill could come up during next month's fall session or when the legislature returns in 2014.