Gambling: What's gonna happen?

Gambling: What's gonna happen?

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 11:44

When we saw Debby Donovan's story reporting that some area lawmakers are asking what Arlington Heights thinks about slot machines at the racetrack, one of our first questions was this:

Does this mean they're trying to prepare for an imminent vote on gambling expansion?

We asked Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, that question this morning.

"Those things, as you know, can pop quickly," he said.

They can die quickly, too.

In January, the last attempt at gambling expansion - giving Arlington Park and other track slots and building five new casinos - died in the middle of the night surprising reporters, lawmakers and lobbyists who were preparing for a long debate.

Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat, has indicated he wants to take another run at it this year. When will it pop? Will it pop? That's one of many, many unanswered questions at the Statehouse right now.

For his part, Harris said he would likely vote against a plan that would force Arlington Park to send up to $3 million to the City of Des Plaines to make up for stealing gamblers and their revenue away from the new casino there.

That's a small detail, relatively speaking, the giant topic of gambling expansion. So you can see how this gets complicated and expansion fails in Springfield nearly every year.

"I just think that's unfair," Harris said.

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