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Commission: Illinois could become ‘sucker state’

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CHICAGO (AP) – A Chicago Crime Commission vice president says Illinois could become known as “the sucker state” if it doesn’t eradicate unregulated casino-like machines he alleges can be fixed to cheat players.

Art Bilek spoke at a Thursday news conference where the influential anti-crime group launched a campaign against so called “sweepstakes” or “coupon” machines.

The unregulated machines accept cash but pay out coupons or wagering credits. Illinois permits licensed video gambling kiosks.

Bilek told reporters Illinois was known as “the sucker state” a century ago before crackdowns on crime. He says if the purveyors of the suspect machines aren’t stopped, it’ll reassume that title.

Belik says there may be only 100 operational machines in Illinois now. But likening them to “parasites,” he says once they take hold, they “never go away.”