Illinois lawmakers take new look at gambling expansion -

Illinois lawmakers take new look at gambling expansion

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois lawmakers are taking a new look at more gambling as a way to reduce the state's massive budget deficit.

Lawmakers have talked for years about adding new casinos or putting slot machines at racetracks, but the proposals have always fallen apart.  

But with Illinois facing a roughly $15 billion deficit, the issue is getting serious attention in the Legislature's fall session.  

The plan under discussion would add five new casinos -- one in Chicago and four others around the state. Existing casinos would be allowed to expand.  

The horse racing industry would also get a boost. Six racetracks would be given permission to install slot machines.  

Backers hope this would generate about $1 billion a year, but critics say it would mean more gambling addiction and social problems.  

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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