Slot machines a sticking point for gambling expansion

October 18, 2011

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(AP/Seth Perlman)

Some Illinois lawmakers are trying to work out a compromise with the governor to expand gambling in the state. Gov. Pat Quinn detailed what he wants changed in the state's gambling plan on Monday.

This comes months after lawmakers passed a bill calling for five new casinos and the addition of slot machines at racetracks and at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports.

Quinn said the measure is too much of an expansion and that he wants to eliminate the addition of slot machines.

State Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, sponsored the measure in the House.

"Some would say, 'Well, it's gaming expansion.' Well, really? The last I saw, we were already gambling at racetracks," Lang said.

Lang said the racetrack and agriculture industries would lose jobs without the addition of slot machines.

"I'm prepared to come up with new and creative ideas, but I'm not prepared to be for a bill that doesn't allow slot machines at racetracks. And more importantly, I can't pass that bill," he said.

Quinn's calling on lawmakers to redraft the bill.