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updated: 5/25/2011 6:38 PM

House committee rejects gambling legislation

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  • A proposal to expand gambling, including adding slots at Arlington Park, was rejected in a House committee Wednesday.

      A proposal to expand gambling, including adding slots at Arlington Park, was rejected in a House committee Wednesday.

 
By Kerry Lester
klester@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- Legislation that would expand gambling in Illinois and allow slot machines at Arlington Park was rejected by a House committee Wednesday.

By a 6-5 vote, lawmakers voted down Skokie Democrat Lou Lang's plan to allow five new casinos throughout the state and allow slots at racetracks, Chicago airports and downstate fairgrounds.

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Despite the failure, he could ask for another vote in the coming days.

Arlington Park, which has often referred to slots as the "shot in the arm" the horse racing industry needs to revive sagging revenues, supported the legislation conditionally, pending a few details being worked out, Vice President Jim Stumpf said.

Lang said the legislation would help save the thousands of horse racing jobs, and provide the state with $500 million each year to help pay down debt without increasing taxes. But the Illinois Casino Gaming Association. as well as officials from Elgin, Aurora and Des Plaines who oppose the legislation, say that would be at expense of their casinos.

Lang called the 130-page plan a "good bill that is well-crafted."

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