Rita says he’ll propose new gambling legislation

SHARE Rita says he’ll propose new gambling legislation

State. Rep. Robert Rita, D-Blue Island, said Thursday he plans to introduce a radically new version of a gambling expansion plan in the Illinois House.

One measure would create a state-owned mega-casino in Chicago, Rita said. The city and the state would split revenue 50-50, under the plan, and the city would then split its share with Cook County government and south suburban municipalities, he said.

A second, separate proposal would allow a smaller Chicago casino — also owned by the state — and new casinos in Lake, Winnebago, Vermilion counties, and the south suburbs of Chicago. Other than Chicago, all of the new casino sites would be designated by larger geographic boundaries instead of city-specific designations.

Rita said his proposal also more narrowly defines how any new casino revenue could be spent. Spending would be limited to education and capital construction at the state level, and capital construction and pensions at the local levels, he said.

The second proposal would allow gambling positions at horse racing tracks, except for in the Metro East, near St. Louis, and at half the number of gambling positions called for in previous gambling expansion bills. Rita said there was a significant divide in the East St. Louis area on the impact that adding slot machines at Fairmont Park would have on gambling at the Casino Queen.


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