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Gambling Bill In Illinois On Hold After House Defeat

Lawmakers in the state of Illinois have been working on gambling expansion for the better part of the past year. All of the discussions led to a change in the gaming bill that passed the Legislature earlier this year. The new bill was defeated in the House late Wednesday night, opening up a bunch of questions.

"The bill we voted on today is a far better bill than the bill we voted on then," said Representative Lou Lang, the bill's sponsor. "The fact that it got less votes tells me somethings afoot here that I haven't quite grabbed a hold of yet."

Lawmakers had grown weary in recent months of the gambling legislation. Governor Pat Quinn has asserted that he would veto any attempt at broad gambling expansion in the state. That threat of the veto may have been the situation that caused lawmakers to change their voting status on the latest bill.

Political pressure is high these days, and lawmakers are concerned with their public image, especially with an upcoming election that could reshape many state Legislature's. Lang believes that the political landscape played a big part in defeating the gambling bill on Wednesday.

"I think it's entirely possible that some people took a possible primary into account," said Lang. "But what they don't remember is if they voted for this in May, voting against it today is not going to change their vote from May."

The bill only failed by two votes, so it is possible that Lang may try to persuade two lawmakers to change their stance on the issue. Senate President John Cullerton had stayed the bill that passed earlier this spring, out of fear of a Quinn veto. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been lobbying heavily for a new land-based casino in his city.

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