Real Money Casino Gambling at Chicago Airports Gets Grounded

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
Real money gambling is showing up all over the country in various settings. There are plans for slot machines at truck stops, riverboat gambling at casinos like The Tropicana in Indiana that are not even in the water and expanded slot machine offerings at horse racing tracks that do not even offer live racing.  The recent push to add slot machines in O’Hare and Midway as Chicago’s two main airports did not make the final cut as part of Illinois real money gambling expansion plans. According to a recent post on the, Illinois legislators at the state capital in Springfield just voted against a massive gambling expansion plan.
Along with adding slot machines at Chicago airports, the proposed legislation also included plans to build new casinos while also adding slots at Illinois race tracks. Every state government is tasked with ways to generate new revenue for an ever-expanding budget. More than one has turned to expanded gambling options as the quick fix. After listening to 90 minutes of testimony from the committee in charge of these expansion plans, the proposed measure did not garner enough votes to proceed through the state legislative process. According to this report, Blue Island Representative Bob Rita sponsored the bill and he has not abandoned hopes of getting another vote on the issue before the legislators adjourn these sessions at the end of the month.
A similar measure was passed last year by the state Senate. It called for six new brick-and-mortar casinos across the state including a new Illinois casino at It would have also permitted slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports. Race tracks were slated to get slot machines and table games, while bars and restaurants with a video gambling licenses could expand from five to six terminals.
One of the issues on the table is a strong resistance from current casino operators looking to avoid the added competition. Race track owners point to slot machines as the answer to save a horse racing industry that continues to decline. Another issue is a proposed tax increase from 30 percent to 35 percent on the video gambling machines at eating and drinking establishments. Those operators also voiced some strong concerns to the legalization of sweepstakes machines. The one issue this proposal did not include was provisions for legal sports betting.

Another strong proponent of expanded gambling in the state was Waukegan Senator Terry Link. He was quoted in this report as stating, “ I think this is a win-win situation for everybody, and for those who have a little bit of a problem, I’ll just say one thing: Suck it up, because you are still going to make money in this industry and you know who you are. They build new casinos next door to one another in Las Vegas, and none of them are going out of business.” This situation in Illinois bears watching as other states grapple with the same issues. The expansion of real money gambling is inevitable in many shapes and forms. State and local governments just need to be smart with their expansion plans

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