New Gambling Proposal Surfaces In State House

Updated 11/8/11 – 2:32 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Lawmakers have crafted yet another gambling proposal in Springfield.

This time, they say all of the governor’s concerns have been addressed, except one.

Quinn last month announced plans to veto the earlier gambling bill approved by the General Assembly. He objects to the slot machines not only at racetracks, but also O’Hare International and Midway International airports and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Alex Degman reports

State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) crafted a new measure that cuts down the number of allowable gambling positions at new and existing casinos from 2,000 to 1,600, with 4,000 still allowed in Chicago.

The proposal retains the plan for five new casinos – one in the city of Chicago, and others in Rockford, Danville, Lake County, and the southern suburbs.

It doesn’t allow slot machines at Chicago airports or the state fairgrounds in Springfield, but slot machines at race tracks are back in. That’s something on which Lang says he and the governor will never agree.

“I think that was a glaring oversight, an appalling mistake, and a direct slap in the face to Downstate legislators who were trying to keep jobs in the agribusiness community in Illinois,” says Lang.

The measure passed out of a legislative committee on Tuesday by a vote of 8-2.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has made a strong push for a Chicago casino, said he has high hopes for the compromise, but whether it can avoid a gubernatorial veto is a major question.

Emanuel said that the new legislation could help Chicago win a casino.

“This recent legislation that was just introduced, I think, achieves an honest compromise,” Emanuel said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Quinn has said he’s strongly against slot machines at the racetracks.

“Regions that are counting on a casino, like the south suburbs, will find that they’ve got competitions from casino racetracks that will cause harm to both of them,” Quinn said.

Lawmakers who support the gambling expansion have said that it cannot pass without allowing slots at the tracks.

Lang says the compromise legislation must come up for a vote this week, but he’s not sure when that will happen. He wants 71 votes to pass it, which will ensure an override should the governor veto it.

  • Homer

    Next election I plan on getting a brick to run for state office. This proposed bill will not balance the budget. The gambling pie is finite. More casinos does not a bigger pie make. I know it, joe the plumber knows it and even my 8 year old grandkid knows it. What more casinos does do is redistribute the gambling dollar into the pockets of Madigans and Cullertons buds. Are we THAT dumb in Illinois? Fer sure. Blago won twice and would probably win again if allowed to run. Thats all. Have to throw up now.

  • peter hamilton

    NO more casinos. All they are is a poor tax and a black hole which drags more destitute people down into it. The Democrats “talk” about helping the poor and middle class, then do that by not opening more casinos. they will not help the budget, just will re-distribute the money already being wagered- it won’t create more gambling, I hope.

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