Springfield Businesses Polled On Statewide Gambling Expansion
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — While Illinois waits for Gov. Pat Quinn to decide what to do with gambling legislation on his desk, the chamber of commerce in one of the cities affected is surveying its members to ask what they think.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, in addition to the five new casinos and slot machines at race tracks, the proposal – which passed both chambers of the General Assembly months ago – includes almost 1,000 slots at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports
Josh Collins, director of government relations for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, says some of the money generated would be used for maintenance and improvement at the fairgrounds.
“A couple of years ago, we lost the Beef Expo because there was an electrical incident out there,” he said.
The online survey asks chamber members whether they’re aware, and whether they approve, of the casino bill.
The bill also calls for a new land-based casino within the Chicago city limits, as well as new casinos in Lake County, the southern suburbs, Rockford and Danville.
The bill would also allow slot machines at racetracks as well as at O’Hare and Midway international airports.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a particularly strong supporter of the Chicago casino, and has suggested it is the only way the city can avoid serious problems stemming from its crumbling infrastructure.
A spokesman for the mayor told CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine earlier this week that he’s identified $2.3 billion in needed repairs to roads, bridges, water and sewer mains, and billions more for the CTA. Money from the state, the mayor claims, has all but dried up.
But Quinn has said the gambling bill contains too much gambling and not enough oversight, and disagrees with Emanuel’s contention that state funding for infrastructure has dried up.
Quinn can neither sign nor veto the gambling expansion legislation until it hits his desk, which can’t happen until Senate President John Cullerton releases a legislative hold he’s placed on the bill.
Once that happens, the governor could approve the bill, veto part of it, or veto all of it.
A veto is subject to override when the General Assembly returns in late October.