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Gambling Push Resumes in East St. Louis

Casino Queen
Paul Sableman (pasa47) via Flickr

An Illinois lawmaker is attempting to revive talks over a massive expansion of gambling in the state. The effort begins Tuesday evening at a casino in East St. Louis.

After years of effort, talks to expand gambling broke down last spring. The issue receded amid high-profile legislation dealing with pensions, concealed carry, and same-sex marriage.

Now Rep. Bob Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island, is trying to get gambling back on the front burner.

He's planning several public hearings across the state, beginning at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

"East St Louis has different issues than the south suburbs, or different than Danville," Rita says. "There are all different regional issues."

Rita says he'd like to stick with the existing framework for a gambling expansion. That would include five new casinos — in Rockford, Danville, Chicago, and two in the suburbs. It also would allow slot machines at horse racetracks.

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