State

Board hears testimony on 24-hour gambling push

CHICAGO (AP) — The Illinois Gaming Board is considering arguments on whether to extend casino hours around-the-clock.

Proponents and critics lined up Thursday to discuss extending the time casinos are open from the 22-hour limit to 24.

Illinois Casino Gaming Association spokesman Tom Swoik says the change is necessary to level the playing field with video gambling, which is allowed nonstop at truck stops. Also, casinos near Illinois' boundaries say they're losing business because neighboring states allow 24-hour gambling.

But anti-gambling groups and former addicts say the social cost is great.

Melynda Litchfield is a nurse who had a gambling problem. She says the only thing that would make her stop a gambling binge was the fact that casinos closed.

The board will likely make a decision at their regular meeting next month.

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