Legislative Hearing for Chicago Casino Underway

The bill is SB1739

UPDATE: Plan Draws Support at Hearing

Advocates for a proposed Chicago casino say it would boost business, tourism and job creation.

Members of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and other business groups want a casino in downtown Chicago, where they say it would complement existing tourist attractions and retail shopping.

They spoke Wednesday at a legislative hearing that will also feature testimony from labor unions and anti-gambling groups.

State Rep. Bob Rita is sponsoring the legislation. The Blue Island Democrat is giving lawmakers two options: A plan to add five casinos around Illinois plus slots at racetracks or a second plan to allow only a Chicago casino.

Rita says the Chicago-only option would benefit the entire state through a sharing of proceeds. But some central and southern Illinois officials are opposed.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel last month said that any profits from a Chicago-based casino would be earmarked for education. He and Gov. Pat Quinn late last year seemed close to a deal on a Chicago casino, but the governor vetoed that bill.

The bill is SB1739.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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