The gambling industry of Illinois continues to struggle, seeing low attendance and wagering at the horse tracks of the state. Betting is down and horse owners are moving their business to Indiana as well as other neighboring states including Ohio and Iowa, which is hurting the struggling race facilities. The racing industry would now like to see casino style slot machines added to the state’s tracks to try and help the $6 billion budget shortfall that exists within the state.
According to news reports, the Governor of the state, Bruce Rauner, as well as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other legislative leaders met to discuss a casino in the Chicago area as well as gaming areas in the south suburbs of the city. A second hearing on gambling proposals is set to take place on today.
State Senator Terry Link is currently working on a measure that would allow a Chicago-owned casino to be created that would offer slot gaming at horse tracks. The specifics of the bill have not been released but Link hopes to release the bill soon.
Additional proposals have been created by Representative Bob Rita, allowing for state-owned casinos in Chicago and other areas of the city. Rita’s bills would exclude slots being added to Fairmount Park based on objections from casinos in the state as well as East St. Louis. The East St. Louis area is located just 8 miles from the track and relies on the Casino Queen riverboat to meet budget needs, which they feel would be affected by the addition of slot gaming at the track.