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posted: 4/18/2011 1:00 AM

Harris: Time for open discussion about slots

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I was pleased to read the editorial in Sunday's Daily Herald ("Let the debate over track slots begin"). The subject of slot machines at Arlington Park is again on the agenda of the Illinois General Assembly for the current session, and I believe it would be worthwhile to have a "vigorous and healthy community debate" on the issue, as you call for in your editorial.

Arlington Heights is represented in the General Assembly by several state representatives and state senators. Arlington Park itself sits in the district of a representative from Palatine.

It would benefit all of us if we could get a clearer sense of what the citizens in our area think about the idea of expanded gambling at Arlington Park.

Should the board of trustees pass a resolution stating its position on the matter? What happens if Arlington Park should close? Do the reported comments made by the mayor reflect a sense of the overall community? Should expanded gambling at Arlington Park be subject to approval by the village board or just mandated by the state?

Is the public willing to accept video gaming as well as slot machines, both of which are included in the bill under consideration? Is it appropriate for Arlington Heights to be forced to give 33 perfect of revenue it might receive from slots at Arlington Park to Des Plaines, which is currently part of the legislative proposal?

We legislators have a lot to review as we consider this significant expansion of gambling in our state. While any approval of slots applies to every racetrack in Illinois, my primary focus is a local one, namely Arlington Heights and Arlington Park.

I, for one, would welcome a more open and complete discussion among all the stakeholders before having to vote on the matter.

State Rep. David Harris

Arlington Heights