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ILLINOIS HOUSE GAMING COMMITTEE OK'S VIDEO POKER

Posted On: 5/16/2003

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SPRINGFIELD, IL -- (Posted May 16) At 9:30AM CST today, members of the Illinois Coin Machine Operators Association were notified that the state's House Gaming Committee had just passed HB 142, which would legalize 47,000 operator-run video poker in 18,000 street locations. The bill passed by a vote of eight to four. ICMOA executive director Adonna Jerman issued an e-mail advisory to association members "just a few moments" after the vote. The state faces a $5 billion budget deficit, and regulation (and taxation) of video poker could add $750 million to Illinois's state coffers and $200 for local governments. Gov. Rod Blagojevich said in an interview with the Associated Press last weekend that he is not a gambling proponent, but under the circumstances, he would consider going along if lawmakers passed various pro gambling bills. Blagojevich specifically criticize video poker, which he termed "sleazy." In an effort to improve the image of video poker, ICMOA has offered to tie Amber Alert messages about missing children into its video poker network, flashing information about missing kids over video screens, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The House Gaming Committee also voted this morning eight to three in favor a bill to legalize a Chicago riverboat casino. The AP quoted committee chairman, Rep. Lou Lang, as saying expanded gambling resulting from the video poker and riverboat bills could raise $2.5 billion for the state.