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Bribery charge against ex-state Rep. Luis Arroyo brings fresh scrutiny to sweepstakes machines, raises questions about potential for abuse as gambling expands

State lawmakers have worked over the past decade to bring various forms of gambling out of the shadows and onto the tax rolls, from legalizing video poker at bars and restaurants in 2009 to authorizing sports betting this spring.
But the latest turn in a sprawling federal probe into public corruption from Chicago to Springfield has shined a light on a type of gambling that has flourished in a gray area of the law.
Chicago Democrat Luis Arroyo, who resigned from the Illinois House on Friday after being charged with bribery Monday, is alleged to have offered kickbacks to an unnamed senator in exchange for the veteran lawmaker’s support for legislation that would regulate and tax so-called sweepstakes machines.
Arroyo was being paid $2,500 a month as a City Hall lobbyist for a sweepstakes company run by an ex-Chicago police officer who was fired for associating with a major drug trafficker, the Chicago Tribune reported last week.
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