Illinois lawmakers discuss where Chicago casino will be located

CHICAGO — Now that gambling has passed, the first order of business for Chicago will be to figure out where the casino should go and where all people can place a bet.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, state lawmakers and Mayor Lori Lightfoot finally found some common ground on a gaming bill that allows for expanded gaming in Chicago and a Chicago casino.

“The first step is to get a feasibility study up and going to make sure the economic model meaning the taxation structure that the general assembly proposed will actually be viable,” Lightfoot said.

The mayor didn’t say where she would like to see the Chicago casino go. The governor told the Chicago Sun-Times that he thinks it should go near downtown in a location that he called “forgotten.” However, he said it should be up to the mayor.

The city is set to get a third of the revenue from the casino, a third will go to the private owner and the last part of the pie will go to the state, which plans to use the money to fix the state’s transportation infrastructure.

The bill also allows for slots and other gaming at venues already set up for gambling and limited betting at some of Chicago’s pro sports venues and at the city’s airports.

There is another side to gaming.

“If 2% percent of population has a gambling problem that’s 216 thousand people right now,” Bill Johnson, administrator if the Illinois Council of Problem Gambling, said.

The organization helps those with gambling problems find help. Johnson said he believes that with more access to gambling, more people will find themselves addicted.

“If we are going to balance the budget with that revenue we need to have a safety net to protect those people,” he said.

Johnson said those who need help can contact 1-800-GAMBLER.

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