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Illinois Casino Debate Set To Heat Up With Gambling Bill Proposed

Lawmakers in the state of Illinois have been discussing the possibility of gambling expansion for several months. Now, with only two weeks left in the current session, a bill has been produced that will bring those proposals to the table for debate.

Representative Lou Lang issued a proposal that would bring slots not only to five new casinos, but also to state race tracks and two airports in Chicago. It is a plan that would take an awful lot of convincing of other legislators to pass, but Lang is shooting for the stars.

"I can't tell you today whether I have sixty votes to pass this bill," said Lang. "But I can tell you it's the right thing to do."

That is also up for debate. Gambling expansion opponents claim that this type of legislation would open Illinois up to be the Las Vegas of the Midwest. That is not a label that most Midwesterners have ever wanted. The lure of jobs and revenue, however, may outweigh the opposition to having such a label.

"The truth is that casino gambling expansion is happening at a rapid rate all throughout the country, and the states that drag behind on their advancement of such measures are losing out on the opportunity for hundreds of millions of dollars for their state budget," said Gaming Analyst Brad Dawkins. "

Major budget cuts are looming in Illinois, and that may be the prevailing thought when the gambling measure comes up for debate. None of the legislators want to be a part of cutting some important programs that Illinois residents rely on, so it may become imperative that they support the gaming bill in order to save their own political careers in future elections.

Governor Pat Quinn does not want gambling expansion on the grand scale that Lang has proposed, but he is open to some expansion in Chicago. New Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in favor of a city owned casino in Chicago. Emanuel still must examine Lang's proposal before making a decision on whether to support an extreme level of gambling expansion.

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