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Illinois Gaming Board to consider 24-hour Casinos

The Illinois Casino Gaming Association is petitioning the state's gaming board to allow 24-hour gambling at Illinois riverboat casinos.
PEORIA - The Illinois Casino Gaming Association is petitioning the state's gaming board to allow 24-hour gambling at Illinois riverboat casinos.

"I think it's a bad idea and I think that gambling is very family destructive to start with," said Frank Nelson, who is against gambling.

Casinos in Illinois want to be able to keep their doors open 24-hours a day. As of now they have to close for at least two hours. A spokesperson for East Peoria’s Par-A-Dice Casino said they supports the proposal because it would give the business more flexibility, but others say it’s just more time to take advantage of people.

"People, you know, need their money more than anything and gamble all night and you're just wasting your money," said Shar, who would not give her last name.

"The only people that ever profit from it is the state, and the individuals are the ones who are the big losers, the gamblers," Nelson said.

Some of those people end up at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery. Coleen Moore works there and said greater accessibility is bad for compulsive gamblers.

"Now with the video gaming terminals, the accessibility of that, we've certainly seen and increase with people," Moore said.

A representative for the Casino Gaming Association said places like truck stops already have 24 hour gaming and Illinois is the only state that doesn't allow casinos to do the same.

Moore said having a closing time means people with an addiction will have to stop gambling at some point, even if it's just for a short break.

"We’ve also had people that may suffer from diabetes. They wouldn't be taking their medication because they continue to gamble and they just weren't taking care of themselves medically," Moore said.

For casinos the longer hours would mean extra revenue, a boost after the decrease they saw after the 2007 smoking ban.

The public will have a chance to weigh in at the Illinois Gaming Board’s meeting on September 19th.
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