Illinois Gaming Board To Consider 24/7 Casinos

Sep 3, 2013

Illinois' gaming regulators will decide if casinos can stay open around the clock.  The gaming board is holding a special meeting Sept. 19.

Credit photo by roundnoon / CC BY 2.0

Casinos only briefly close now. For example, the Casino Queen in East St. Louis opens its doors at 8 a.m. and closes at 6 a.m. 

The facility wants the ability to stay open those extra two hours.

Tom Swoik, who represents a handful of Illinois' ten riverboats, says it could generate a bit of extra income for the casinos  -- and by extension the state -- at a time when their revenues are down.

"With the video gaming that's going on now, for example truck stops are allowed to stay open 24 hours a day," Swoik said. "So people can play video gaming at truck stops 24 hours a day, why not at the casinos?" 

Anti-gambling activist Anita Bedell  says it's a way for casinos to take advantage of sleep-deprived gamblers who aren't thinking clearly.

''It's a dangerous thing, and the casinos in Illinois do not need to go to 24-hour gambling, what they need to do is stop the 24-hour gambling at truck stops, cause those are local people who are gambling all night," Bedell said.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.