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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The lawmaker seeking approval for expanded gambling in Illinois will conduct several hearings to get public input.

Rep. Bob Rita is a Blue Island Democrat. He said Thursday that the first hearing will be Jan. 28 at the Casino Queen riverboat casino in East St. Louis.

Rita took over the expansion plan last spring after Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed past attempts for lacking ethical and legal safeguards.

The idea would add five casinos - including one in Chicago - and slot machines at the city's airports and the state's horse racing tracks.

Rita says he believes expanded gambling would benefit the state and the communities hosting it. But he says he wants a bill that is "transparent and that deals fairly with taxpayers."

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The bill is SB1739.

Online: http://www.ilga.gov

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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