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updated: 5/18/2011 6:40 AM

Lawmakers criticize Arlington's stance on slots

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  • David Harris

      David Harris

  • Fred Crespo

      Fred Crespo

  • Sidney Mathias

      Sidney Mathias

 
 

SPRINGFIELD -- State lawmakers who asked Arlington Heights officials to announce publicly whether they wanted slot machines at Arlington Park say they'll consider the village board's suggestions but its stance could have been stronger.

Village trustees this week informally expressed support for proposals to put slot machines at the track.

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Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, said the board's stance is illuminating, even if an official vote might have been preferable.

He said he's not committing to vote for gambling expansion, though, saying there's a lot to it like where money goes and casino expansion.

But, he said, it helps to "know generally how to vote."

"That is, I think, a helpful step forward," he said.

Other lawmakers who asked for input remain on the fence as well.

Rep. Sidney Mathias, a Buffalo Grove Republican, said he has to weigh his general opposition to gambling expansion with wanting to keep Arlington Park open.

He said he would have preferred the village board vote on an official resolution about its thoughts.

"If they do it informally, they certainly should be able to do it formally," Mathias said.

And Rep. Fred Crespo, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, said he's on the fence as well and called the board's support "weak."

"If anything, it sheds light on that it's a very controversial issue," Crespo said.

Whether the controversial issue even gets voted on in Springfield this year remains an open question.

Supporters of gambling expansion have taken preliminary steps to prepare for a vote in the final two weeks of lawmakers' annual session in Springfield. But the last several attempts at expanding gambling in Illinois have fizzled under heavy and complex political pressures.

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