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Wager: 24-Hour Casinos?

Amanda Vinicky

TheIllinois Gaming Board is set to consider lifting a restriction that forbids casinos from staying open 24 hours a day. 

Illinois' casinos have previously tried, and failed, to get the okay to keep their doors open 24-7. Now they're trying again. The Gaming Board will consider a proposal Sept. 14.

Tom Swoik, who represents many of the state's riverboats, says Illinois lets truck stops offer video gambling at all hours, so casinos should be allowed to as well.

"Things have changed over the last several years," he says. "Not everybody wants to do it, but we'd like to have the option to do it; for example some casinos probably won't do it at all, others may do it on weekends and holidays."

Swoik says it could help the casinos' bottom line, and help generate taxes for the state.

Anti-gambling activist Anita Bedell translates that as preying on compulsive gamblers.

"Some will never stop until the casino closes, and if the casinos do not close, some people will gamble much longer than 24 hours.  They'll gamble 32, 40, 72 hours at a time," she says.

Bedell says it'll cause a public safety issue if gamblers get in their cars and drive home after binge sessions at the casino.  Some casinos already operate up to 22 hours a day.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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