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South Suburban Gambling Hearing Rescheduled for March 3

Rep. Robert Rita will speak to Southland leaders March 3, about the latest efforts to expand gambling in the state of Illinois. Hearing set for 6 p.m., Tinley Park Convention Center.

The Legislature's latest push to expand gambling in Illinois comes to the Southland March 3, with a public hearing at the Tinley Park Convention Center, 183rd Street and Harlem Avenue at 6 p.m. The hearing had been previously scheduled for Feb. 17, but was canceled due to severe weather.

State Rep. Rita, D-Blue Island, sponsors the bill—which would include establishing a casino in a to-be-determined south suburb. After negotiations failed to produce an agreement at the end of the legislative session last May, Rita said he would look to schedule hearings to work through a number of issues preventing an agreement from moving forward. The fall veto session produced no further progress, so Rita hopes to use hearings this spring to produce legislation that can move ahead in Springfield. 

The second hearing is now set for Monday, March 3, at the Tinley Park Convention Center in Tinley Park, where Rita and local legislators will talk through issues with a number of interests from that area. The first hearing was Jan. 28 in East St. Louis.

Bill supporters say it could bring in between $400 million and $1 billion in new annual revenue to Illinois. It would allow five new casinos (including one in Chicago, one in the suburbs), in addition to slot machines at horse racing tracks and O’Hare and Midway airports. Current and future casino license holders would also be permitted to apply for online licenses. 

"I’m a firm believer that gambling expansion can provide great benefits to the state of Illinois and the communities where it comes," Rita said. "But it is important that we put a bill together that is transparent and that deals fairly with taxpayers and all of the interests involved. My hope is these hearings put us on the path to getting that done this spring."

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Lenny Kravitz February 24, 2014 at 05:59 PM
What a crock. Gambling is evil, unless the State sponsors it. The money will go to schools, err I mean into politicians and Mob pockets. Revenue into Illinois? No, it will be sucked out of the local economy into an out-of-state conglomerate.
Homewood Jim February 25, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Same lies that they put forth years ago when they started the lottery, "give us the lottery and all the revenue will go to the schools". Look at your latest tax bill and tell how THAT is working out. All I want for Christmas is Term Limits.
antigambler February 25, 2014 at 01:52 PM
The Illinois-taxpayer-funded Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability predicted that "a reduced tax structure combined with the likely cannibalization of existing casinos could mean that the State would have a large amount of gaming expansion, with little new tax revenues to show for it." Call your legislators at (217) 782-2000, and tell them to vote "NO" on any gambling-expansion bills!
Luke Dominy February 25, 2014 at 09:32 PM
Maybe I'm being naive, or just too optimistic, but won't an expansion to the gambling bill lead to a casino in the South Burbs that would in turn lead to massive revenue for the State, and more importantly, create HUNDREDS of new jobs here in the South Suburbs?! I realize that revenue from previous bills haven't been appropriated correctly, but since we are in an embarrassing amount of debt (both on the State and Township levels) won't this expansion help drive commerce to our suburbs? Like I stated before, maybe I am not aware of all the negative repercussions, but to me this push for gambling expansion could do more good than harm.
Larry February 26, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Luke, new revenue and creation of new jobs, it couldn't hurt. I said that at the airports on a trial basis Slot Machines should be put in place. Why let Indiana, and Wisconsin reap the proceeds from our residents going over to their state, keep the money here. Better than bigger Taxes!!!
Larry March 03, 2014 at 11:09 AM
If revenue is going to Indiana through gambling and Wisconsin, why not keep the money in Ill. People will Drink, Gamble and have any other Bad Vice's, You can't say no don't have it because of people's vice's, if that's the case then have no alcohol or drinking in the State.

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