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Gaming Board Considering 24/7 Operations For Illinois Casinos

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John Cody John Cody
John Cody is a veteran reporter for Newsradio 780.
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(CBS) – Around the clock casino gambling may be coming to the State of Illinois if okay-ed by the State Gaming Board which is now considering the issue.

The Board heard from a casino industry representative who both gaming revenues and taxes paid to the state have dropped 38 percent in the last five years.

Illinois casinos are currently required to close for two hours a day but Tom Swoike with the Illinois Casino Gaming Association is arguing for round the clock operation, seven days a week.

“24 hour gaming already exists in the state at the truck stops. The state does not receive as much revenue from the truck stops as the do from the casinos because we pay at a higher tax rate,” said Swoike.

Swoike and the casino operators argue round the clock operations will produce $5 million more annually in taxes for the state.

Opponents say the current two hour closing is the only way to get addicted gamblers out of casinos and say if it’s a matter of fairness, why not just turn off truck stop video gambling machines for the same two hours every day.

Anita Bedell with the Illinois Church Action told the state gaming board that problem gamblers will just stay at the tables around the clock unless they’re forced out.

A spokesman says the Illinois Gaming Board will rule on the casinos’ 24/7 request by year’s end.

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