05/08/2010 12:00AM

Slots vote delayed in Illinois


CHICAGO - A bill that would bring electronic gaming devices to Illinois racetracks failed to reach the floor of the state House of Representatives on Friday, the final scheduled day of the Illinois spring legislative session, but lawmakers must return to the capital city of Springfield sometime later this month to hammer out a final state budget, and the gaming bill could come up for a vote then.

Racetracks and horsemen's groups began lobbying heavily for the bill, SB 3146, about a week ago, and the bill unanimously passed out of a House committee on Thursday night. Racing representatives believe they have votes sufficient to pass the bill in the House, but the legislation reportedly will struggle to pass the Senate, with several senators whose districts include riverboat casinos holding firm against the expansion of electronic gaming to racetracks.

The bill would permit tracks in Chicago to install up to 1,200 gaming devices, and allow downstate Fairmount Park to have 900 machines. Racing interests are promoting the bill as an employment boon and a quick means of generating revenue for cash-strapped state government through initial gaming-machine licensing fees.