Quinn Calls Gambling Expansion Bill ‘Excessive’

UPDATED: 6/1/2011 3:45 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn on Wednesday called the pending gambling expansion bill “excessive.”

Quinn said he will spend the next few days examining the bill, which has been approved by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. The bill is now on his desk to sign or veto.

The governor’s remarks on the bill were decidedly disapproving.

“The people of Illinois do not want an excessive gambling bill that’s top-heavy, and I think I reflect the public sentiment on that,” Quinn said. “I think there are parameters that if they were followed, it might offer an opportunity to do this in a proper way.”

The state Senate voted 30-27 Tuesday in favor of the gambling expansion plan, which would be the largest such expansion in the state since the General Assembly voted to authorize casinos in 1990.

The plan would authorize a casino within the Chicago city limits, put slot machines at racetracks and the city’s airports, and add casinos in the suburbs. The plan would generate millions of dollars in revenue to help the state and city pay its debts, supporters say.

Quinn has indicated support for a Chicago casino, but opposes new suburban venues as well as slots at racetracks and airports, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports

The new casino could go along the lakefront at the what many believe to be the most casino-ready location, though the operators of McCormick Place would like to keep conventions and a casino separated by a couple of miles.

It could also anchor the long overdue-renovation of the Congress Hotel, a great location scarred by labor strife for years.

But others believe a site farther from downtown, along the south lakefront, would both intercept Indiana-bound gamblers, while being far enough away not to compete with Chicago restaurants and other attractions.

Possible operators include MGM, Harrah’s and Wynn, but also a consortium of local hotel owners.

The vote represented a clear victory for new Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who helped turn the legislative tide in favor of the casino expansion package through a series of personal phones calls to rank-and-file lawmakers.

“I want to get this signed into law,” Emanuel said. “Then at the appropriate time, get a blue ribbon group to think through where, how and what makes the most sense.”

A Chicago casino could mean trouble for towns like Joliet–where two casinos are struggling from a downturn in the economy and a state wide smoking ban that sent many players to Indiana

Joliet Mayor Thomas Giarrante told CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole that competition from even a single Chicago casino translates into a loss of business, jobs and tax revenue.

Joliet’s gaming tax revenue peaked at $37 million in 2007. By 2010 it dropped to $21.5 million. If the complete gaming bill is passed, the town estimates it could lose $6 million more each year.

Suburban casino expansion is an even bigger concern for Giarrante.

“The casino industry is having problems as it is. There only so much money to be made out there in the gaming industry,” he said. “We are facing major problems in our budget and this is not going to help.”

Naturally Joliet’s casinos aren’t happy either.

“To add more gaming when the industry is already down is like trying to solve the housing crisis by flooding the market with more new homes,” said a Hollywood Casino spokesman.

  • Jim

    We thought that the income tax increase was excessive and he did not care!

  • tom Sharp

    The only thing excessive is the spending spree of the politicians with no means of paying for it! Cut spending before you cut the sources to pay for it!

  • joey

    Well you knuckleheads voted quinn in so you have no one to blame but yourself.

    • Veronica Williams

      No no. I did not for for this man. He’s an unknown replacement just shclepping around. A forgettable waste of space.

  • Paul

    What an idiot the state is broke not paying there bills and he is worried about the bill being excessive and the so called do gooders worried about people going bankrupt nobody is forcing people to go to casinos

  • Colie

    “But opponents have argued that the added wagering opportunities created under the legislation would bankrupt Illinoisans with gambling addictions and take aim at those who can least afford to squander their payroll or Social Security checks.”

    Arnt casinos for adults? If so then the people they are worried about should be albe to take care of them selfs, and deal with the consiquesnes of thier actions. If adding these casinos will help lower Illinois debt, why should the majority suffer for the minority.

    • colie

      Im sorry I forgot to spell check. (dont look badly upon me for my spelling)

  • I Lead I Cry I Am In Trouble Again

    I love that picture of Quinn, it looks like going to cry again.

  • george

    gambling revenue is the only hope we have… the people in government have to have new cars, and their children have to go to college… where did you think the money was going to come from….

  • Jim

    The odds are very good that he will eliminate Chicago from the gambling bill. You can bet on it. Illinois and Chicago will continue to enjoy the benefits of electing Blago and inheriting Quinn. Democrats, the cancer of Illinois.

  • southside

    Dear Mr. Quinn, the people of Illinois don’t care about gambling in Illinois. They care greatly about cutting spending in Illinois. Most Illinoisians don’t go to casinos. All Illinoisians are paying for your stupidity in cutting spending.

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/06/02/hammond-joliet-officials-worried-about-casino-expansion/ Hammond, Joliet Officials Worried About Casino Expansion « CBS Chicago

    […] HAMMOND, Ind. (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn has expressed serious doubts about the massive gambling expansion bill now awaiting h… […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/06/02/commission-gambling-expansion-will-draw-organized-crime/ Commission: Gambling Expansion Will Draw Organized Crime « CBS Chicago

    […] Quinn has expressed similar concerns about the proposal himself. […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/06/09/report-shows-illinois-gambling-revenues-dropping/ Report Shows Illinois Gambling Revenues Dropping « CBS Chicago

    […] It also comes as Gov. Pat Quinn considers a bill that would dramatically expand gambling in Illinois… The bill would create five new casinos. In addition to the one in Lake County, casinos would also open within the Chicago city limits, and in the southern suburbs, Rockford and Danville. […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/06/15/agriculture-industry-pushes-for-gambling-expansion/ Agriculture Industry Pushes For Gambling Expansion « CBS Chicago

    […] Vaughn urges the governor to sign the bill as presented, but it appears unlikely that will do so. He has said in the past that the proposed casino expansion is “excessive.” […]

  • http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/06/15/survey-most-illinois-residents-oppose-gambling-expansion/ Survey: Most Illinois Residents Oppose Gambling Expansion « CBS Chicago

    […] Quinn has not made a decision on whether to sign or veto the bill, but has said in the past that the… Share this article No comments // […]

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