Illinois can reintroduce a gaming bill

The Illinois Senate is assessing a gaming bill that is part of several reforms, but legislators can reintroduce a separate one.

US.- Gaming expansion is pushing its way through legislation in the Senate of Illinois under the “grand bargain” budget, which contains several reforms that have to be approved together. However, Senator Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, affirmed that the Senate would debate a separated gaming bill if the grand bargain was rejected.

Under the joint plan, each project has to be approved or any of them will be passed. But Illinois legislators are definitely going to study the gaming expansion bill this year. The Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Syverson and other officials, would grant further casino licenses in Chicago as well as the permission to install slot machines at airports and at four horse racing tracks.

“If the overall grand bargain doesn’t move as we hoped it would, certainly our goal would be to have this one move forward because it does help all parties and it does help parts of the state,” the Senator assured to the local press. The gaming upgrade would allow the State to increase its annual revenues.

If the measure gets passed, Illinois’ casino industry would generate further US$550 million. The bill also proposes a tax of 16 percent for table games. Six new casinos would be opened in Chicago, the south Chicago suburbs, Rockford, Danville, Williamson County and Lake County. The new gaming venues would compete with neighbours’ casinos located near the borders.

“These states are building casinos right on the Illinois border to get Illinois residents. We’re strategically placing these casinos in defensive nodes along the Wisconsin and Illinois borders,” explained Syverson. “It really does two things: One is that it helps bring gaming revenue into Illinois, and it stops the big outflow of people from Illinois going to surrounding states.”