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Governor, Lawmaker At Odds Of Over Illinois Gambling Expansion

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Lawmakers in Illinois are preparing for a battle over whether or not to expand gambling in the state. State Senator Terry Link is pushing a new bill that would expand gambling, while Governor Pat Quinn believes the state currently has enough gambling options for its residents.

Link introduced legislation this week that would raise the number of casinos from ten to fourteen. Included in the proposal would be expansion for existing casinos, and slots at state race tracks. The slots at the tracks is an idea that is being discussed in many states.

The racing industry has fallen on hard financial times over the past decade. The interest in racing has decreased, and with casinos popping up in states that have never had casino gambling, residents in these states now have more options than just the tracks. In states where tracks have been awarded slots, financial stabilization has occurred.

As for Link's proposal, there seems to be little chance it will progress to the point where it becomes law. Quinn is intent on keeping Illinois from becoming a major player in the gaming industry in the Midwest.

"I think we have to understand in Illinois that we have some gambling," said Quinn, as reported by "But do we want to expand it and make Illinois the Las Vegas of the Midwest? Not in my opinion."

Neighboring states will keep a close eye on the gambling debate in Illinois over the next couple of months. Indiana casinos, specifically, would be hurt by additional casinos in Illinois. Indiana has many gamblers coming from Illinois to patronize their casinos, accounting for millions of dollars in revenue.

If approved, the proposal from Link would place a new casino in Chicago and Ford heights. Balmoral Park would be the beneficiary of the slots for a race track.

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