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   The Illinois horse racing industry could find itself in a bind if lawmakers don't renew a law allowing online betting that expires in January.

   Race dates at Illinois racetracks, including Fairmont Park, would be severely cut if lawmakers don't take action to renew the betting law and give Illinois' racing board access to money online wagering generates.  

   The issue could come up when the General Assembly convenes Tuesday.

   But even if lawmakers get it done, there's no guarantee Governor Quinn will sign it.  Quinn has said he won't consider other legislation until lawmakers fix the state's pension crisis.

Published in Local News

   CHICAGO (AP) - Riverboat casinos in Illinois want to remain open for business around the clock.

   The Illinois Casino Gaming Association is asking state regulators for the okay to operate 24 hours a day. Currently, no casinos are open more than 22 hours.

   The Illinois Gaming Board has scheduled a public hearing for Sept. 19 in Chicago to consider the request.

   Tom Swoik is executive director of the casino gaming association, which represents most of the state's casinos. He says video gaming already is available around the clock at places such as truck stops.

   Swoik says 24-hour operations would raise revenue for the casinos and the state and create jobs.

   Opponents say extending casino hours create more problems for compulsive gamblers, who would never have to leave the casino.

 
Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Lottery is allowing people who have a gambling problem to voluntarily ban themselves for life.

People who participate will be prohibited from claiming winnings of $600 or more. The option started Thursday, and officials say it is modeled after self-exclusion programs in Illinois, Iowa and Maryland.

Missouri Lottery Executive Director May Scheve Reardon says the $600 figure was chosen because lottery winnings of that amount or more are claimed at one of the lottery's regional offices. She says enforcement at 5,000 retail locations would be impossible.

To enact a self-ban, people will sign, notarize and submit an agreement to the Missouri Lottery. Officials will keep a database to be checked when someone comes to claim a prize. Those who have banned themselves will be denied payment.

 

Published in Local News

 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The longtime promoter of expanding Illinois gambling has taken his name from a bill over "perceived conflict of interest" with his law firm.

In a statement released Tuesday, Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says there've been no violations, but not only is his name off the gambling bill, he may not vote when it comes to the House floor.

Lang is counsel for Odelson and Sterk, an Evergreen Park firm hired by Rockford. The city is one of five that would get a casino if lawmakers approve pending legislation. Rockford officials have said there's no connection.

Lang says his actions have been respectful of laws and ethical rules. He declined to comment Tuesday beyond the statement.

Democrat Rep. Robert Rita is now the gambling bill's sponsor.

Published in Local News

   It looks like the last of the safeguards Missouri legislators had initially placed on casinos could soon be tossed out.  

   A bill now before the Senate would let the state’s 13 casinos issue short-term loans to gamblers, secured by the gamblers' bank accounts.  The measure easily won approval in the state house last month.  

   Casino executives say they need to be able to provide credit in order to attract high-end gamers who don't want to carry large amounts of cash.  

   The measure would repeal the last of the safeguards that were in the original state law voters passed in 1992 when they legalized riverboat gambling.  The rule requiring riverboat casinos to actually be on a boat on a river, and $500 loss limits have already been repealed.

Published in Local News

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