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Chicago-only casino option at issue in hearing

Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:43 p.m. CDT

SPRINGIFELD, Ill. (AP) — The option of expanding Illinois gambling only in Chicago will be a central issue during an all-day hearing on legislation.

State Rep. Bob Rita is the sponsor of the latest attempt to increase the number of Illinois casinos. The Blue Island Democrat is asking lawmakers to decide between one plan to add five casinos around the state and slots at racetracks and a second plan to allow only a Chicago casino.

Rita believes he can persuade lawmakers that the Chicago-only option will benefit the entire state through a sharing of proceeds. But some central and southern Illinois officials plan to voice their opposition at the Wednesday hearing.

Republican Rep. Chad Hays of Catlin calls the idea a "laughable assertion that no downstater will bite on."

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The bill is SB1739.

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