06/13/2007 11:00PM

Illinois gambling bill fails

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The Gaming Committee of the Illinois House of Representatives on Wednesday voted down a bill that would have brought four new casinos to the Chicago area while funneling a percentage of casino revenue to the state's racetracks.

The bill, HB 25, which passed the Senate by a 30-29 vote late last month, was defeated 20-2 by the House committee. Since it originated in the House, it could no longer be amended.

The defeat came as no surprise, since House leadership has expressed for weeks that there was no support in the body for the sort of massive gaming expansion approved by the Senate. Gaming expansion has arisen as a way for the state to raise revenue and plug state budget shortfalls.

The legislature remains in an overtime session, and must pass a budget by July 1 or face a shutdown of state government. Racing interests remain hopeful that legislation still will be passed this session to provide financial aid to the state's horse industry.