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updated: 11/30/2010 6:35 PM

Gambling expansion gets initial support

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  • A panel of Illinois senators Tuesday gave initial approval to a massive gambling package that would allow Arlington Park to have slot machines and cause five new casinos to be built in Illinois.

      A panel of Illinois senators Tuesday gave initial approval to a massive gambling package that would allow Arlington Park to have slot machines and cause five new casinos to be built in Illinois.
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SPRINGFIELD -- A panel of Illinois senators Tuesday gave initial approval to a massive gambling package that would allow Arlington Park to have slot machines and cause five new casinos to be built in Illinois.

A full Senate vote could come as early as Wednesday.

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Legislation carried by state Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, would allow Arlington Park to have up to 1,200 slot machines. Four of the five new casinos would be in northern Illinois, in Park City, the south suburbs, Chicago and Rockford.

Opponents said new casinos would hurt business at the Grand Victoria in Elgin and the under-construction casino in Des Plaines.

Link said new casino sites would be authorized without a bidding process in which towns compete for casinos. That's so the state could get new gambling revenue as soon as possible.

"We expedite to get us our money now," Link said.

The Senate committee approved the plan by a 7-4 vote, and it now moves to the full Senate.

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