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Emanuel Pushes For Chicago Casino As Fall Veto Session Begins

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces his 2012 budget plan. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 10/25/11 – 2:57 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The fall legislative session gets underway in Springfield Tuesday, and the proposal for a Chicago casino is one of the major issues facing returning lawmakers.

As WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has already been working with legislative leaders on the idea.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Mayor Emanuel says he very much wants casino gaming in Chicago, with hopes that the revenue would help build and repair roads, mass transit and schools, among other things.

The mayor says he has encouraged that a compromise on gambling expansion can be reached.

“I’ve talked to the leadership in the Senate. I’ve talked to the leaders who have been working on this in the House, and I think that there’s a lot of overlap to doing that, and I think we’ll need to work with them to try to achieve that,” he said.

Emanuel says he has backed this proposal since the campaign. He has remarked that Chicago is losing out to Hammond, Ind., where the Horseshoe Casino draws $20 million a month in revenue.

But Gov. Pat Quinn says he’ll veto any legislation that includes slot machines at horse racing tracks, O’Hare and Midway international airports, or the Illinois State Fair. The governor does support five new casinos, including one in Chicago, but sponsors of the gambling expansion plan have said the measure would fail without slots at the tracks.

On Tuesday, as lawmakers met for their fall veto session, the governor reiterated his intention to veto any gambling expansion plan that includes slots at the tracks.

Quinn challenged lawmakers to send him a casino expansion bill which he has already said he doesn’t like. The legislature approved the bill – five new casinos, plus slot machines at horse tracks, Chicago airports, and the Illinois State Fairgrounds – but put a parliamentary hold on it. Meanwhile, the governor has proposed a “framework” which leaves out the extra slot machine locations, without which the bill is likely to fail.

“They passed their masterpiece on May 31,” Quinn said of the bill. “Bring it on. Make my day.”

Supporters of the casino expansion plan have been working on gathering enough support to override Quinn’s threatened veto.

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