06/01/2007 12:00AM

Illinois gaming bill passes


A bill that would funnel a percentage of revenue from Illinois casinos to Illinois racetracks, create video poker parlors at tracks, and allow account wagering in Illinois passed the state Senate by a 30-29 vote Thursday.

The bill is an amended version of one that passed out of the state House on Feb. 22. The House must approve the Senate changes before the bill can advance to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The bill would bring about massive gaming growth in order to help balance the state's budget while funding major health-care and education initiatives. It calls for a land-based casino in Chicago and three new riverboat casinos, and allows the expansion of existing casinos.

The bill also would end recapture, the convoluted process through which tracks deduct money from purse accounts to compensate for the migration of ontrack wagering dollars on Illinois races to out-of-state simulcasts.

The legislature moved Friday into a so-called overtime session, where a three-fifths majority is needed to pass budgetary legislation.