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posted: 1/25/2010 12:01 AM

25th Senate hopefuls differ on gambling

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  • Chris Lauzen

      Chris Lauzen

 
 

Sean Michels says he could possibly support letting Chicago have a casino, under certain circumstances.

His opponent, incumbent state Sen. Chris Lauzen, voted "no" in 2007 and again in 2009, on bills that would have allowed that.

Michels, village president of Sugar Grove, and Lauzen are seeking the Republican nomination for the 25th District Senate seat Feb. 2. The winner will face Democrat Leslie Juby of Geneva in the fall election.

Lauzen has been a state senator since 1992. He also was one of 12 senators to vote against the video gambling legalization bill last spring. The bill, which eventually was signed in to law, allows video gambling machines that pay out money to be placed in bars, restaurants, fraternal lodges, truck stops and other businesses that have liquor licenses. Before then, video gambling machines were allowed for entertainment purposes only. The bill was tied to a capital spending plan.

Lauzen said he was ready to "bite the bullet" on approving a sales tax on Internet purchases to fund the capital bill, but once video gambling was included in the package, he couldn't stomach it. He calls video gambling "the crack cocaine of gambling," hooking new gamblers into addiction with easy access and affordability.

He says he would vote in favor of repealing video gambling.

State election board campaign finance forms show Harrah's of Las Vegas donated $300 this month to Lauzen's campaign.

Michels says he does not believe it is necessary to increase gambling access.

"But I would not be opposed to a Chicago casino, provided there were safeguards imposed to make sure that the vast majority of monies generated went to capital improvements and used to lessen the state burden of the CTA," he said.

The 25th District includes much of Aurora, which has the Hollywood Casino on the Fox River.

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