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Cash-strapped Illinois gov't eyes Chicago casino as revenue jackpot

When you're hungry, even a three-day-old banana and sardine sandwich looks good. And when you are as broke as Illinois, the promise of billions of dollars from a Chicago casino looks amazing. 

"Macau, I believe, is the gaming capital of the world. If I'm not mistaken their revenues last year might have been upwards of $45 billion," Illinois Democrat state Rep. Andre' Thapedi said Wednesday. "If those numbers are accurate, that a small little Chinese territory can generate $45 billion in one year, that's something we have to look at." 

Illinois once again looks to a potential Chicago casino as the money maker both the city and state want. On Wednesday, a panel of state lawmakers dove back into the debate over how to get as much public money out of a Chicago casino as they could. 

"No matter what figure you look at -- the highest has been $950 million, the lowest has been $450 million -- that a downtown Chicago casino would produce. Pick a number, they're all huge numbers," Kim Goluska, a board member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, told lawmakers. 

Goluska said the indirect benefits of a Chicago casino -- new jobs, new tourists, new conventions -- would be in the billions of dollars. 

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