(photo courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment)

A hearing at the Casino Queen in East Saint Louis Tuesday will kick off an Illinois lawmaker’s renewed efforts to expand gambling in the state.

Rep. Bob Rita of Blue Island is reviving a proposal to increase state tax revenues by allowing five new casinos in Illinois, in northern and central Illinois, and add slot machines at horse racing tracks and Chicago airports. 

Rita says he’s following up on a promise he made to conduct regional hearings after the proposal he shouldered last year stalled.

(via Wikimedia Commons/RamblingGambler)

New figures show that February was a down month for St. Louis-area casinos.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that all six casinos in the St. Louis region reported lower revenue last month compared with February 2012.
Figures released by regulators in Missouri and Illinois showed the number of gamblers at the area's casinos also fell.

via Flickr/brownpau

Illinois and local cities and towns are starting to cash in on new video gambling terminals.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the state took in nearly $1 million in additional income in November from more than 1,400 video terminals.

More than $191,000 was distributed to towns and cities where the machines are located.

Video gambling became legal in bars, clubs and truck stops in October.

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Illinois legislators are scheduled to go back to Springfield this week to tackle any bills the governor vetoed this year.

Of the major legislation the governor vetoed - one big issue that's had all sorts of trouble getting support is gambling expansion. The measure Governor Pat Quinn vetoed would allow for several new casinos in the state - including one in Chicago. But Quinn has said the bill is flawed - with, quote, "loopholes for mobsters" - but a sponsor of the measure says he's close to having enough votes to override the governor's opposition.

via Flickr/brownpau

A new report shows that Illinois' fledgling video gambling industry brought in more than $346,000 in revenue for the state in October.

The Illinois Gaming Board's monthly report shows that the state's October take came from nearly $18 million in wagers at 714 machines across Illinois.  Local governments where the gambling is offered got nearly $70,000.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Will be updated. Reporting from WUIS' Rachel Otwell used in this story.

Updated 12:37 p.m. with reaction from Fairmount Park Race Track official

Updated 11:01 a.m. with additional comments from Illinois lawmakers and stakeholders.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has vetoed a gambling bill on the grounds that it fell "well short of the standards of the people of Illinois."

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ill. Gov to take action on gambling bill today

UPDATE: As of 9:25 a.m., Quinn has vetoed this bill.
Gov. Pat Quinn isn't giving any hints about what he'll do with a gambling bill that Illinois lawmakers sent to his desk. Today is the deadline for Quinn to take action on legislation that would establish five new casinos in the state. It would also allow slot machines at horse racing tracks.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Akin highlights faith in push to revive campaign

Republican Congressman Todd Akin is highlighting his Christian faith while asking for help in reviving his Senate campaign. A fundraising appeal sent Wednesday by Akin notes he has asked both God and voters for forgiveness for comments that women's bodies have a way of avoiding pregnancy in cases of rape.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Good morning. Here are your starting headlines today:

Valley Park mayor resigns

The embattled mayor of Valley Park has resigned. Nathan Grellner stepped down as the top official in the St. Louis County town on Thursday, submitting a written letter of resignation. Grellner has been under fire for questionable spending with a city credit card, for missing nearly every meeting since February, and for his arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence in a neighboring town in June.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he won't sign a gambling expansion bill in exchange for a promise that legislators will pass an ethics measure in the fall.
Quinn made the comment Monday at a ceremony during which he signed a measure into law that expands a tax credit program for businesses that hire veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Legislature passed a bill earlier this year that would create five new casinos - a land-based site in Chicago and four more on riverboats.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Judge rules that the CVC must release more Dome documents

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission is being ordered to release more documents related to the renovation of the Edward Jones Dome.

(via Flickr/sampsyo)

The Illinois House, in a 69-47 vote, passed a gambling expansion bill that would create new casinos and slot machines at the state's racetracks.

However, the bill passed Wednesday won't allow slots at airports or state fairgrounds.

A gambling bill passed by the Legislature last year, but never sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for his signature, included the creation of five new casinos, including the first one in Chicago. Illinois currently has 10 casinos.

(via Flickr/sampsyo)

For the first time since it was implemented in 1996, gamblers in Missouri now have a way to remove themselves from the state's voluntary casino exclusion list.

The Missouri Gaming Commission today made forms available to start the removal from the "disassociated persons" list. Any gambler who's been on the list for five years is eligible.

(via Flickr/Robert S. Donovan)

Illinois' anti-gambling lobby speaks out against online lottery plan

Illinois Lottery officials want lotto tickets available online by next spring. Both the state - and gambling critics - agree that'll be a financial boon for Illinois.

"Well, it could be a boon, but at the expense of addicted gamblers," said Anita Bedell, the head of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems. Bedell, who has been fighting gambling expansion for years, says she worries online ticket sales will make it too easy for gambling addicts to get their fix.

St. Louis Public Radio

One person put a stop to more gambling in Illinois this year.  Gov. Pat Quinn refused to go along with a package that would have added casinos, expanded existing sites and put slot machines at horse tracks.  

Illinois seemed on track for the biggest gaming expansion since riverboat casinos went in the water 20 years ago.  The General Assembly approved it.  But Governor Quinn blocked the attempt.  Quinn wanted less gambling in what was a huge package. 

(via Flickr/Hakan Dahlstrom)

Thousands of people who have voluntarily banned themselves from Missouri casinos will get a second chance at playing the slots.

The Missouri Gaming Commission voted Wednesday to relax rules for the state's casino exclusion list, which imposes a lifetime casino ban on problem gamblers who voluntarily sign up for it.

Starting next spring, the new rules will allow people to remove themselves from the list after they have been on it for at least five years.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Reporting from WBEZ's Jennifer Brandel used in this report.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn says he won't sign any gambling expansion bill that doesn't meet his framework.

The gambling expansion bill was narrowly defeated by state legislators a couple weeks ago. Next week, lawmakers are back in session and may try yet again to advance it. Quinn says they shouldn't bother if it still includes slot machines at race tracks .

(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Will be updated.

An Illinois House committee has approved a new, smaller gambling plan that backers hope can survive a threatened veto by Gov. Pat Quinn.

It passed 8-2. Democratic Rep. Lou Lang says the measure could be changed even more before a vote by the full House.

Number of E. coli cases in St. Louis grows

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services says there are now 30 confirmed cases of E. coli in the St. Louis area, and officials continue looking for the source. Health officials have tested 55 food samples connected to the St. Louis outbreak, but zero have been confirmed to have E. coli.

The first cases were reported late last month in St. Louis city and St. Louis, Jefferson and St. Charles counties in Missouri and St. Clair County, Illinois.

(Robert Altman)

Gov. Pat Quinn says he doesn't support slot machines at Illinois racetracks.

Quinn on Monday discussed his objections to a gambling bill passed by lawmakers but not yet sent to him.

Quinn laid out a framework for gambling expansion that includes five new casinos in Chicago, southern Cook County, Lake County, Rockford and Danville.

He says the Illinois Gaming Board should choose the location in Lake County and not the Park City location passed by lawmakers.

Quinn also says he opposes slot machines at Chicago's O'Hare or Midway airports.