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Article posted: 6/24/2013 6:09 PM

Quinn's signature could help Waukegan gambling company

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mriopell@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation Monday that would clear the way for a Waukegan-based slot machine maker to keep selling its wares in Illinois.

A group of gambling companies had banded together to oppose the legislation, arguing that WMS Industries Inc. shouldn't get a reprieve from the state's conflict of interest law.

Existing law doesn't allow one company to dabble in multiple parts of video gambling in Illinois. Scientific Games, a company that runs the state's overall video gambling computer systems, had recently acquired WMS Industries.

That potentially meant WMS wouldn't be allowed to sell their machines in Illinois.

"It raises all kinds of questions about the appearance of a conflict of interest," Jim Prescott, a spokesman for the companies asking for a Quinn veto, said earlier this month.

Quinn's action sides with state Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and sponsor of the plan, who argued the Illinois Gaming Board will be able to stop any potential conflicts of interest.

"They still have a complete oversight of all of this," Link said.

The sweeping legislation also provides that the Gambing Board doesn't have to report on the video gambling revenues from individual bars and restaurants.

The machines began taking bets in Illinois just last year, and hundreds of new ones go online every month.

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