By Joseph Ryan and Bill Ruthhart
Nearly three-fourths of the lawmakers who voted on doubling the number of Illinois casinos accepted political contributions in the last 18 months from the gambling industry — a practice several states ban.
Casinos, racetracks and video poker interests shelled out about $812,000 to lawmakers, the governor and Chicago's new mayor since the beginning of 2010, leading up to the landmark vote on a measure to allow five new casinos, permit slot machines at the horse tracks and fast-track video gambling in bars and truck stops.
The cash flowing from casino companies, horse-track tycoons and video poker investors shows just how much attention the titans of those industries pay to the politicians who legalize and oversee their business.
In the last 10 years, the industry has given Illinois politicians nearly $10 million, a Tribune analysis of campaign fundraising data found.