Gambling Expansion In Illinois Approved

By WEEK Producer

May 31, 2011 Updated Nov 4, 2013 at 2:42 PM CDT

The Illinois Senate and House have now approved a massive increase in gambling in Illinois.

The promise is that wagering at racetracks, five new casinos, and Chicago's airports would bring in millions of dollars. License fees alone could bring in $1.5 billion with a half a billion dollars annually in additional tax revenues.

The Senate approved the gambling bill this afternoon by a vote of 30 to 27, the minimum needed to pass.

Downstate legislators were told money from the increase in gaming revenues would go to agriculture research, schools and 4-H programs.

Senators LaHood and Koehler both voted against the bill, and Senator Brady of Bloomington voted "present".

The bill now goes to Governor Quinn, who favors a casino for Chicago, but said he believed the bill added too much gambling for the state. Quinn is scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday morning.