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Illinois Senate Vote Close, But Gambling Bill Defeated

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The Illinois Senate almost passed a Bill that would have brought expanded casino gambling to the entire state. When it came down to voting time, however, the Bill was defeated by the slightest of margins.

The final vote was twenty-eight in favor of the expanded gambling, and twenty-eight opposed. That left proponents of the new casinos just two votes short of the required thirty.

"In a year like this when we need money and no one wants to vote for a tax increase, everybody says, 'what about gaming?" said John Cullerton, Senate President, "We need to consider this as an alternative."

Consider it, they did, but the Senate decided now was not the right time for the gambling expansion. It may have been a case of too much, too quickly, for gambling opponents, who are already reeling from Thursday's decision.

On Thursday, lawmakers voted in favor of legalizing video machine gambling at bars. All that is left for that Bill to be completed is the signature of the Governor. Still, even with that expansion, lawmakers were not ready to take the next step.

"Video poker. Gaming. Enough is enough," said state Senator James Meeks. On Friday, enough was enough for twenty-eight lawmakers who stopped the expanded gambling this time, but the issue is almost assured to come up again in the future.

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