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Aldermen To Quinn: Sign The Gambling Bill

Chicago City Council Chambers (CBS)

Chicago City Council Chambers (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago aldermen are putting the pressure on Gov. Pat Quinn with regards to the stalled gambling bill.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, longtime Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) called on Quinn to sign the bill.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Mell joined other city council members Thursday, in support of the bill. One by one, aldermen talked about the jobs the gambling expansion bill would create and the revenue it could add.

Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) suggested the additional revenue could be used on infrastructure, which he says is badly needed.

Late last month, the City Council’s Black and Hispanic Caucuses urged Quinn to sign the bill, saying delaying it would present a barrier to safety improvements and employment, which would come from a Chicago casino.

In addition to a new land-based casino within the Chicago city limits, the bill calls for 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.

A parliamentary maneuver has kept the legislation from reaching Quinn’s desk, despite approval by the General Assembly. Although he has yet to say outright if he would veto the legislation or amend it, the governor has called it “top-heavy” and indicated it needs a re-write.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says better gamblers spend their money here than take it across state lines to Indiana.

Quinn cannot act on the legislation until it is sent to his office by the General Assembly. Although lawmakers have signed off on the gambling expansion plan, Senate President John Cullerton has placed a legislative hold on the proposal, fearing a veto from Quinn.

Once Quinn gets the legislation, he has 60 days in which he must act.