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State Rep Says Gambling Bill Must Pass This Week

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — If a gambling bill is going to come to a vote, it has to happen this week, according to the architect of the latest incarnation of legislation to expand gambling in Illinois.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the new gambling bill includes a casino within the Chicago city limits, as well as new casinos in Lake County, the southern suburbs, Danville and Rockford.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

It also includes a provision for slot machines at racetracks, which Gov. Pat Quinn opposes, but which the racing industry says it needs to survive.

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) is behind the legislation, and he hopes he can garner enough votes to override a veto from Quinn, who has said repeatedly that he does not want slots at the tracks.

Seventy-one votes are required to ensure an override of a gubernatorial veto.

“I think that was a glaring oversight, an appalling mistake, and a direct slap in the face to downstate legislators who are trying to keep jobs in the agribusiness community in Illinois,” Lang said.

The new legislation fixes some regulatory issues the governor had with the expansion bill that passed in the spring, but was never sent to the governor over a veto threat.

It also cuts down the total number of allowable gambling positions at new and existing casinos from 2,000 to 1,600, with 4,000 still allowed in Chicago.

The bill does not allow slot machines at O’Hare and Midway international airports or at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, as the old bill did.

The measure passed out of a legislative committee on Tuesday by a vote of 8-2.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has made a strong push for a Chicago casino, said he has high hopes for the compromise.

“This recent legislation that was just introduced, I think, achieves an honest compromise,” Emanuel said.

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