Bet on it. Gaming Board chairman is unhappy with Legislature

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Aaron Jaffe, chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board, is not happy with the Legislature right now.

It’s Jaffe’s job to monitor those who will operate the newly legalized video poker in bars and other small establishments.

Now, though, the Illinois Senate has passed a bill that also passed out of a House committee on Monday. The bill would take away the board’s discretion, allowing it to bar only those who are convicted of a gambling-related charge.

The reality, Jaffe says, is that most of those caught dabbling in illegal video poker wind up convicted only of lesser charges.

“I am absolutely opposed to what the Legislature is trying to do,” Jaffe says. “They are taking away discretion from the board. It gives an exemption to people who have been involved in criminal activity.”

UPDATE: The Illinois House passed the bill, HB4927, on Wednesday afternoon by a vote of 81-26-5. It now moves to Gov. Quinn for his signature.

Cook County Assessor candidate Joseph Berrios praised lawmakers, saying the bill has the potential to create $500 million in jobs and revenue for the state during a tough economic crisis. Berrios is a lobbyist for the video poker industry, but says he will resign if elected assessor.

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