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updated: 11/10/2011 5:10 AM

Illinois House rejects gambling plan

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  • Critics say allowing more slot machines and casinos in Illinois will hurt existing casinos, such as Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino.

      Critics say allowing more slot machines and casinos in Illinois will hurt existing casinos, such as Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino.

  • Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino

      Elgin's Grand Victoria Casino

 
 

SPRINGFIELD -- Lawmakers Wednesday rejected a gambling expansion plan that included slot machines at race tracks like Arlington Park and a new casino in Lake County, raising questions about whether a deal can get done this year.

Yet, it could come up for another vote in the House as early as Thursday.

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Quinn has strongly lobbied against slots at tracks and refused to sign a previous gambling expansion plan lawmakers approved earlier this year.

"He was very public and very vocal and very adamant about that," said Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican.

But supporters felt the new package catered to Quinn's suggestions, anyway, combining five new casinos -- including one in Lake County -- with more regulation of the industry and a concession to keep slot machines out of the Chicago airports.

They argue more casinos means more jobs around the state and more tax money for a state that badly needs the money.

"Gambling is legal in the state of Illinois," said Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat who ushered the legislation through the House. "And we don't tell any other business how many they can have."

The proposal was rejected by a 58-53 vote.

It's available for another vote in the coming days, and lawmakers are now scheduled to return to Springfield Nov. 21.

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