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Poll: Half of City Wants Casinos

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 17, 2010 1:30PM

2010_12_17_Casinos.jpg With the state legislature ready to debate and vote on major casino expansion when they return to Springfield next month to complete their lame duck session, they may have public opinion in their favor.

The results of a recent poll conducted by the Tribune and WGN-TV indicate that major casino expansion, including a land-based casino in Chicago, is supported by 47 percent of city residents polled. the polls also showed that support for a Chicago casino is strongest among voters under 50, who are concerned about the budget deficits in Chicago and Springfield, and seem to be buying the argument from casino expansion proponents that the tax revenue generated from new Illinois casinos is better than traveling to Indiana and gambling there.

Older voters polled seemed to favor the more practical approach to balancing a budget — tax increases and budget cuts — favored by Gov. Quinn. The Senate passed a casino expansion bill, including a provision for a Chicago casino, on Dec. 1. But support from the House isn't a guarantee. But with tax increases stalled in Springfield, some lawmakers are arguing that casino expansion is a good way to generate revenue now.