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Article posted: 5/31/2013 8:24 PM

No gambling expansion this session

By Mike Riopell

SPRINGFIELD -- Lawmakers left Springfield without a deal on gambling expansion, meaning Lake County will go without a casino and Arlington International Racecourse won't get its coveted 1,200 slot machines for at least another year.

With six and a half hours left in their legislative session Friday, state Rep. Bob Rita filed new gambling legislation. But the Blue Island Democrat's eleventh hour attempt wasn't called.

"I look forward to meeting with the governor, my fellow legislators and many others to move this forward and get a real solution," he said.

Lawmakers have approved similar gambling plans each of the last two years, but they've been vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

That's good news for existing casinos in the suburbs that worry slots at Arlington or new casinos could compete with their profits.

"We had a strong lobbying presence in Springfield the last couple months," said Des Plaines Mayor Matt Bogusz, where the Rivers Casino brings in the most revenue in the state.

This year, Quinn's insistence that lawmakers deal with the state's $100 billion in pension debt before they approve a gambling plan has helped slow momentum for another package.

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