Group targets 'sweepstakes' machines in Illinois
An anti-crime group wants to eradicate what it says are illegal video gambling machines at bars and other venues across Illinois.
The Chicago Crime Commission will formally launch its campaign against "sweepstakes" machines Thursday. It claims organized crime controls many of the devices, which offer gift coupons or wagering credits.
The effort includes mailing a new informational book to every Illinois sheriff and state's attorney.
The group's executive vice president, Art Bilek, says Thursday "marks the beginning of a drive to knock these machines out" of Illinois.
A bill that would close a loophole and explicitly outlaw the devices made its way through the state Senate this year but stalled in the House. Crime Commission spokesman John Pastuovic (pas-TOO'-oh-vihk) says there are plans to reintroduce it.