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updated: 5/29/2013 12:34 PM

Gambling expansion talks continue but time grows short

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SPRINGFIELD -- With just days remaining, big disagreements over how to go forward with a casino in Chicago have put up big hurdles in front of large-scale gambling legislation that would also allow a casino in Lake County and slot machines at Arlington International Racecourse.

According to state Rep. Bob Rita, a Blue Island Democrat, removing Chicago from the legislation would not solve the problem.

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"(If the) Chicago part of this bill gets taken out, it will kill this bill," Rita said.

Every piece of a big gambling plan is intended to draw votes to the legislation. If suburban components like slots at Arlington were excluded, some local lawmakers might pull their support. The same would be true of taking Chicago -- the biggest proposed casino in the plan -- out.

An expansion package passed the Illinois Senate early this month and has been mired in complex negotiations ever since.

Rita insisted, though, that he'll try to win House approval before lawmakers' scheduled adjournment Friday.

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