Convenience stores: Online lottery sales could hurt us

 
By Ryan Voyles
rvoyles@dailyherald.com

SPRINGFIELD -- An association representing Illinois convenience stores said Friday that the future of Internet lottery ticket sales should be part of the larger state gambling expansion debate.

The federal government said earlier this year that Illinois could go forward with plans to sell lottery tickets online. That opinion possibly opened the door for other online gambling, too.

"I think when you talk about expansion, it wouldn't hurt to include us," said Bill Fleischli, executive vice president of the Illinois Association of Convenience Stores.

Fleischli told reporters Friday the state should slow down its plans to offer tickets online and answer questions and concerns about how online tickets could hurt retail businesses.

"I think we need to understand clearly what the lottery wants to accomplish through the Internet play," said Rob Karr, a vice president for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Lawmakers in Springfield approved a gambling plan last year to allow 1,200 slot machines at Arlington Park and a casino in Lake County, among many other provisions. But Gov. Pat Quinn threatened to veto the plan.

Lawmakers and industry officials continue to meet and negotiate a proposal, hoping they might find a compromise later this year.

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