Gambling expansion, including Chicago casino, sports betting, approved by Illinois lawmakers

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(Photo by Steve Sawusch on Unsplash)

By Alexis McAdams, ABC7 News

Governor JB Pritzker is poised to sign expanded gambling legislation into law after it was passed by the General Assembly over the weekend.

The new legislation includes a new casino for Chicago. The battle over opening a casino in Chicago has raged for years, but Monday morning, it appears closer to becoming a sure bet once Governor Pritzker signs it into law.

The Chicago casino would be privately owned, and the city would get one-third of all tax revenue from it. The casino would have up to 4,000 gambling positions, slot machines or seats at a gaming table.

The bill would also allow for smaller casinos in some suburbs, legalized sports betting and slot machines at both city airports.

State Senator Terry Link, a Democrat from Vernon Hills, has pushed for years to expand casino gambling. He finally got his wish Sunday, on his wedding anniversary.

“For the sake of my marriage, for the sake of the state of Illinois, vote this out with your green lights,” Link said.

In a statement late Sunday night, Mayor Lightfoot thanked Governor Pritzker and members of both parties for passing the bill and other legislation that will benefit Chicago communities.

The statement said, “I want to thank Governor Pritzker, President Cullerton, Speaker Madigan and members from both parties in the Illinois General Assembly for advancing our shared vision of a stronger, more equitable future for Chicago and Illinois. We are securing new resources to improve our parks, schools, public transportation and roads through a new capital bill; new revenue for the City and the end to an old inequity through legalized cannabis; and the first step in approval for a Chicago casino that will help shore up the City’s seriously underfunded pension funds and creating new jobs. Chicago is fortunate to again have leadership in the Governor’s office that recognizes our city’s role in driving economic growth and prosperity for the entire state. By continuing to work together in a spirit of cooperation and collaboration to confront shared challenges head-on, we can and will make meaningful progress to unlock new investments for growth in Chicago communities that have been left behind for too long.”

It is not known when Governor Pritzker plans to sign the casino bill.

This article originally appeared on ABC7 News.

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