More push for video gaming in Illinois

By WEEK Producer

October 24, 2013 Updated Oct 24, 2013 at 9:44 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- There is another push in Springfield to increase the number of casinos in Illinois.

Representative Robert Rita is sponsor of the bill to add five casinos and allow video gaming in Chicago's airports and Illinois horse racing tracks.

There was testimony before the House Executive Committee from those who would profit from additional casinos: cities like Danville, Rockford and Chicago's south suburbs, as well as horse racing interests.

However, representatives of the current gambling houses said Illinois is already saturated with gambling availability and the industry is hurting.

"Employment at the nine original casinos is down 30 percent," said Tom Swoik of Illinois Casino Gaming Association. "We've lost almost 3,000 jobs. As I stated previously, gaming expansion is already occurring in Illinois."

The most recent report on East Peoria's Par-A-Dice casino showed admissions for September of this year were 10,000 less than September 2012.

Revenues were down $500,000 for the month as well.

A gambling expansion bill passed the Illinois Senate last Spring, but was not called for a vote in the House.

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