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Illinois Senate legalizes video poker

21 May 2009

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times: "The state Senate overwhelmingly voted Wednesday to legalize video poker, boost liquor taxes and allow lottery wagering over the Internet to help support a $26 billion statewide construction package that is expected to reach Gov. Quinn's desk.

"What would be the first public works program in a decade passed the Senate on a series of bipartisan roll calls and would, according to Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale), end a "decade of decay" that festered on the state's roads, bridges and public buildings under impeached ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

"'The gridlock we've been going through for six years has ended,' said Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), who carried the package, which taps a combination of federal and state money.

"The House still must sign off before it goes to Quinn, but Cullerton predicted House passage today.

"To pay for it, senators voted 47-12 to legalize video poker in bars, restaurants, veterans halls and truck stops. The state will tax the machines at a 30 percent rate, raising $375 million annually.

"...The package includes big changes at the state lottery. A pilot program would be established in 2010 to allow lottery wagering over the Internet. Additionally, management of the lottery would be turned over to a private firm. Both moves are expected to raise $150 million annually..."

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