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Future Dim For Alternative Illinois Gambling Proposal

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Photo Of Gamblers Playing The Slots. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Photo Of Gamblers Playing The Slots. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — A different gambling proposal that encompasses many of Gov. Pat Quinn’s ideas is making its way through the Illinois General Assembly, but its future is dim.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports, the measure wouldn’t allow slot machines at horse racing tracks, but Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says it does allow for so-called impact fees.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports


“[The governor] allowed for the money to be replaced by an impact fee on the new casinos and the existing casinos,” Cullerton said. “And after all, there would be less competition for them because there won’t be these ‘racinos.’”

Five new casino licenses would still be granted. The impact fees would, according to bill opponents, work out to about $40 million if split evenly among all 10 existing licenses.

State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) accused the measure’s sponsor of “role playing” as lawmakers discussed the bill in committee Wednesday. Righter questions why lawmakers are running a new bill in the first place, instead of sending the original bill to the governor and letting the process play out.

“Rather than going through this, and this is one of those where I have constituents, and I think a number of us on this committee have constituents who will, at some point if they really take a look at this situation will go, ‘what are you people doing?,’” Righter said.

The governor’s office says the measure does not address his concerns and is a charade; which is fueling speculation that this is in fact a stunt, and the measure is dead on arrival on the Senate floor.

Quinn has announced he will veto the earlier gambling bill approved by the General Assembly. He objects to the provision slot machines at racetracks, as well as O’Hare and Midway international airports and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The bill also calls for five new land-based casinos, including one within the Chicago city limits.

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

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