State senator of Illinois Steve Stadelman of District 34 and the Senate Gaming Committee heard testimony today arguing for the easing of slots and gambling activities in the Illinois riverboat industry will benefit the state.
The testimony rode on the back of Senate Bill 0007’s introduction, which seeks to amend current state Lottery Law to allow land-based gaming venues statewide. The bill was penned by Senator Terry Link of District 30 and would also afford permission to the state’s five operating horseracing tracks to install permanent slot machines. At this time, only pari-mutual betting options are available at the tracks.
In regard to the added benefits of allowing enhanced gaming options at the races, Link attested,” “Allowing the state’s horse racing venues, currently licensed gaming destinations, to maximize their capacities with gaming machines, would generate up to $120 million to $200 million for the state in the form of extra licensing fees, plus an additional $100 million to $300 million in recurring annual tax revenue.”
While the bill outlines the tax benefits to the state in detail, it fails to mention the fees associated with licensing for the racing venues enhanced gambling operations, as well as how high brick-and-mortar casino price tags are expected to reach for those cities interested in helping to establish gaming operations.
Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer is particularly optimistic at the prospect of opening a casino in his city, which has unemployment and poverty rates exceeding the state average, adding in his testimony, “I stand before you today seeking your support on this economic development bill. Let’s make no mistake, that’s exactly what this is.”
The Illinois Senate meets again on February 7th, when Link’s legislation is understood to receive a vote from the Gambling Commission.
For residents of the state, their most high-profile city has been on the lips of news anchors across the country for reasons no one in Illinois is proud of. With a gun violence-rate that far exceeds any other city in the nation, Link assures officials that a casino industry will offer big benefits to the city and its residents in the form of jobs, tourism, investment, and development, not to mention tax revenues Chicago could sorely use.
Currently, visitors to the state looking to satisfy their gaming interests tend to travel to Northwest Illinois and hop riverboat gaming venues.
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