05/19/2004 11:00PM

Illinois slots bill advances

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Legislation that would bring slot machines to Illinois racetracks cleared the Executive Committee of the Illinois Senate on Wednesday, but the gambling package is far from becoming law.

The bill includes plans for a land-based casino in Chicago. Chicago mayor Richard Daley has been lobbying hard for a city-owned casino, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he will veto a Chicago casino.

Under the plan, 3,800 slot machines would be divided between Arlington Park, Hawthorne Race Course, Fairmount Park, and the state's two Standardbred tracks, Balmoral Park and Maywood Park. About 14 percent of adjusted gross receipts from slots would be split between Thoroughbred and Standardbred horsemen.

One legislator, Representative Bob Molaro of Chicago, said it would be "very difficult" for a racetrack slots measure to become law this year. Molaro said Blagojevich's opposition to land-based casinos extends to ontrack slots.