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Illinois Lawmaker Holds Forum on Expanding Gambling

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File photo of slot machine.  (photo credit: stock.xchng)

File photo of slot machine. (photo credit: stock.xchng)

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By Jim Suhr, Associated Press

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) – A state lawmaker pushing anew for expanded gambling in Illinois didn’t get much agreement from the local racetrack and a casino during a southwestern Illinois public hearing he hosted.

Overseers of the Casino Queen and East St. Louis implored Democratic state Rep. Robert Rita of Blue Island during the East St. Louis forum to not broaden gambling in southwestern Illinois.

They argued adding more gambling in the already saturated market could cost the casino business, and by extension, tax revenue cash-strapped East St. Louis depends on.

Officials with nearby Fairmount Park racetrack countered that struggling industry desperately could use slot machines Rita’s legislation may bring.

Rita says his bill will be similar to one that fizzled in Springfield last May. Gov. Pat Quinn twice has vetoed gambling-expansion bills.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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