Casinos Want to Give You Free Booze

Illinois riverboat casinos are asking the state Legislature to approve a measure allowing them to offer free drinks.

A bill cosponsored by Rockford Republican Sen. Dave Syverson would spell out that alcohol can be given away on the floors of the state's nine casinos. Advocates of the measure say current rules aren't clear on the issue.

Illinois casinos need something to boost patronage after seeing a big decline over the last year, which they blame on the statewide smoking ban, the free booze supporters said.

But a church matron isn't keen on the idea.  Giving away booze will only cause more problems, including increased gambling, said Anita Bedell, of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems.

Casino owners don't want a church lady to stop them from getting their patrons a little sloshed.  Tom Swoik, of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, said owners will be responsible servers.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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