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Gambling Expansion May be Coming to Illinois this Year

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Legislators are considering expanding the gambling industry in Illinois, as an extra source of income for the state.

Last year’s plans to expand gambling in Illinois might not have worked, but proponents of the idea might get their way this year. Industry experts expect the bill will pass this year, mainly because the state is in desperate need of a new revenue source.

Last May, there has been much debate over changing American gambling laws to authorize five more casinos in Illinois, as well as slot machines at racetracks and airports. A recently introduced bill calls for the same measures and many believe that the idea will seem more appealing now, when the state faces financial difficulty and elections are coming up.

Online casinos coming to Illinois?

Lawmakers have been looking for new revenue sources and they are considering extending the tax increase, which was supposed to drop back from 5% to 3.75% next January. Another option would be expanding the gambling industry, which could bring an extra yearly income of $400 million to $1 billion. With elections coming up, politicians are obviously reluctant to the idea of burdening voters with taxes.

The casino bill is sponsored by Democratic State Representative Bob Rita, who suggested allowing new gambling venues in Rockford, Danville, Chicago and its south suburbs and Lake County. According to the bill, licensees would also be able to run online casinos in the US state of Illinois.

“I think the time’s right. It’s not only revenue for the state, it’s revenue for all of these depressed regions,” Rita argued. It remains to be seen if his fellow lawmakers agree with this idea.

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