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Illinois revenue


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by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Oct 14, 2013

24-Hour Casinos A Bad Deal For Illinois, Gambling Critics Say

Anti-gambling groups and opponents of around-the-clock casinos are urging the Illinois Gaming Board to reject a proposal that would allow the state's 10 casinos to operate nonstop, seven days a week. 

The gaming regulatory board heard arguments last month about the push to extend the current 22-hour operating limit for state casinos to 24 hours. As part of the proposal, backed by the Illinois Casino Gaming Association, casinos would decided on an individual basis whether to operate continuously.

Supporters say the two extra hours would help boost revenue and allow casinos to better compete with video gambling and slot machines at truck stops and bars as well as 24-hour gambling houses in nearby states like Indiana and Wisconsin.

But opponents say they are concerned that people with gambling problems will stay way past the 24 hours.

"We know that there are those horror stories where people sit more than 24 hours and gamble, and that’s not discretionary money, those are the problem gamblers," said Jeanie Lowe, director of governmental affairs with the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems, an anti-gambling organization. "They usually are the ones who have to be asked to leave when (casinos) close for those two hours, [and] maybe that’s the only time they go home or they get away from the machines."