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Old Posted Apr 16, 2014, 5:51 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
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New Chicago casino plan rises, but rocks ahead April 16, 2014

Armed with a revised plan and a new sponsor, advocates for a huge Chicago casino today will kick off the latest campaign to bring a massive gambling emporium downtown.

The plan will be the subject of an all-day Illinois House committee hearing, and it seems a little more realistic than some earlier versions. Even better for proponents, Gov. Pat Quinn has hinted that the latest version comes closer to what he wants than previous bills that he blocked.

But despite that, the proposal still faces long odds of clearing the Illinois General Assembly this spring, even though both the city and state badly need the revenue the casino might generate. A Chicago casino could feature up to 10,000 gambling positions, much larger than Rivers Casino in northwest suburban Des Plaines, which is licensed for just 1,200.

The latest proposal — in two parts — comes from state Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, who has taken over sponsorship of casino legislation from Skokie Democrat Lou Lang, who recently walked away from the issue after years of frustration.

One version of the measure, an amendment to SB 1739, would authorize five new casinos in downtown Chicago, the south suburbs and in or near Danville, Rockford and Waukegan. The measure also would authorize slot machines at racetracks and guarantee horsemen a cut of the take from casinos. That's the "Big Bill" approach Mr. Lang had followed in an effort to provide something of value to a multitude of Springfield interest groups.
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