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Chicago mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy has put forward the idea of locating a casino at O’Hare International Airport in order to help fix the city’s financial problems.

McCarthy has argued that an airport casino would be a big money-earner for the city, while cutting down on many of the societal problems that can accompany legalised gambling.

“The issue with a casino in the city, my understanding, was all of the problems it causes in the community. How about we put a casino in O’Hare Airport where now it’s for travelers coming through and it’s not going to affect the community, and anybody who goes there has to go through TSA?” McCarthy said.

“That’s going to eliminate the issue of the downside of not being able to control what happens, you know, whether it’s organized crime, prostitution, narcotics or whatever it is and, at the same time, that’s going to generate revenue.”

“How many people come through O’Hare and have layovers, and have to sit around for hours and hours and hours?” he said during an interview with Craig Dellimore. “If they’re sitting at a blackjack table, there’s going to be revenue generated.”

Gambling expansion of any kind has long been a tough sell in the state of Illinois, where existing casino owners always push hard against proposals for new ones. A city casino could draw gamblers from the suburbs, where betting revenue has been dropping for years.