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Illinois Officials Disagree On Whether Old Local Laws Hurt VLT Market

Posted On: 4/11/2012

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video lottery terminal, Illinois VLTs, Illinois gambling laws, Illinois Gaming Board, video poker, Video Gaming Act, Lou Lang

SPRINGFIELD, IL -- Decades-old ordinances banning all forms of gambling in Illinois towns and counties could prevent the introduction of video lottery terminals in those jurisdictions, according to the Illinois Gaming Board.

However, state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) insists that the 2009 Video Gaming Act "should supersede" all local bans. "When we passed the video gaming law, we very specifically said everyone is in unless they opt out," Lang said.

Chicago's city council has taken the position that its prior gambling ban remains in force despite the VGA. Chicago is the state's most populous jurisdiction and potentially the most lucrative VLT market.

The IGB recently learned that dozens of local jurisdictions (possibly hundreds) have gambling bans on their books passed so long ago that few officials in those towns or counties remember them. In addition, some 152 jurisdictions statewide have opted out of the VLT market, which is expected to launch this fall. | SEE STORY

Lang said the state Legislature may need to pass an amendment to the VGA, clarifying that all communities are automatically open to VLTs unless they take specific action to opt out. Last year, Gov. Pat Quinn, who signed the VGA into law, said he might support an opposite amendment that would classify all jurisdictions to be outside the VLT market unless they opt in.