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State House Set To Discuss Gambling Expansion

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) -- While gambling revenues are on the way down, the number of locations where you can place a bet may be on the way up.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Brian Seay reports, the Illinois House of Representatives could take up the largest ever gambling expansion as early as later Thursday.

Gambling revenues in Illinois are at their lowest level in 10 years. A House committee has sent to the floor a bill that would allow for five new casinos, one of them a land-based operation within the Chicago city limits.

Sponsoring state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) says the proposal would bring in almost $1 billion within a year.

"So in essence, a little over $900 million of onetime fees will come out of that to pay for old bills," Lang said.

Another $400 million would go to major construction in the state.

CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall reports the bill would bring slot machines to both O'Hare and Midway international airports.

Only ticketed airline passengers could play the slots which would be located beyond the security perimeter.

No table or card games are part of the plan.

The bill would also allow for slot machines at Arlington Park and other racetracks.

The bill throws a bone to the nine existing casinos in Illinois, in the form of a 5 percent tax credit.

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