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Riverboat casinos want to offer free drinks
Associated Press
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Published: 3/4/2009 7:33 AM

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SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois riverboat casinos are asking the state Legislature to approve a measure allowing them to offer free drinks.

A bill cosponsored by Rockford Republican Sen. Dave Syverson would spell out that alcohol can be given away on the floors of the state's nine casinos. Advocates of the measure say current rules aren't clear on the issue.

Supporters of free drinks say Illinois casinos need something to boost patronage after seeing a big decline over the last year, which they blame on the statewide smoking ban.

But Anita Bedell of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems says giving away booze will only cause more problems, including increased gambling.

Tom Swoik of the Illinois Casino Gaming Association says casino owners will be responsible servers.