SPRINGFIELD (CBS) — A Illinois House committee has failed to pass a major expansion of legalized gambling.
The proposal would including five new casinos, including a new Chicago casino, and slot machines at airports and racetracks.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lou Lang, says expansion is needed because Illinois residents are traveling to Indiana to spend their money to gamble and be entertained.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl Reports
“We would not allow this to happen to any other business where thousands of people leave our state to spend money in other states,” Lang said.
He said expansion would generate over a billion dollars that could be used to pay the state’s debts.
Tom Swoik, the executive director of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, says existing casinos are already struggling and more gambling would just saturate the market.
He said Illinois casinos have lost a third of their revenue over three years.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel backs a city-owned casino, but Gov. Pat Quinn doesn’t support a large gambling expansion.