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Illinois Gambling Bill Faces another Holdup

June 12th, 2013 by Site Admin

Illinois Representative Bob Rita introduced a bill that would have expanded gambling in February. His bill would have allowed gaming providers to build new casinos and legalize online gambling. Governor Patt Quinn raised several concerns with Rita’s bill. Quinn believed that online gambling and the expansion of the state’s casino industry were two separate issues that should not be addressed in the same bill.

Rita revised the bill to focus solely on expanding the state’s existing casino industry. He hoped that the bill would be passed this session and lawmakers could focus on a separate bill to legalize online gambling. The Illinois House of Representatives didn’t hear his bill on Friday, which means Rita will need to wait until the next legislative session to reintroduce it.

Rita was disappointed that his bill died this session, but was growing increasingly pessimistic that it would have been passed. Gov. Quinn insisted that he would not pass a gambling bill until pension reform had been addressed. Lawmakers are still debating the best way to pay unfunded pension liabilities, which means any gaming legislation will be put on the backburner indefinitely.

Many lawmakers showed support for Quinn’s bill and hope to have a hearing in the next session. The bill would have raised at least $1 billion in tax revenues and created at least a hundred thousand new jobs. They will try to address Quinn’s concerns about pension reform so they can move forward with gambling expansion this year. Online gambling will be addressed in a separate bill, but lawmakers will probably need to pass the gambling expansion bill first.

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