Reporting Bob Roberts
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Gov. Pat Quinn said Saturday that he won’t sign off on a gambling expansion bill until lawmakers “get it right.”
“We’re not just going to hand out money willy-nilly or hand out a casino license,” Quinn said during an appearance at a college fair at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“I was happy to see that the House of Representatives rejected a plan that didn’t measure up,” Quinn said.
By a two-vote margin, the Illinois House Wednesday rejected a bill that would have created five new casino licenses and authorized slot machines at racetracks.
The racetracks remain a major stumbling block for Quinn, although he insists he has the best interests of the horse racing industry at heart.
“It seems to me that it’s much better to have an approach where we know exactly what the horse racing interests are getting. We can measure that every year,” he said. “I think if they work with us they’ll end up okay.”
Quinn said that too many casinos won’t do anyone any good. And he wants the beneficiaries of gambling expansion clearly determined.
He specifically named education and “protecting neighborhoods.”
Quinn urged legislative leaders and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to work with him. Emanuel supported the bill that was defeated in the House.
“If we do all that together, we can get success,” he said. “If they try to run around the governor, I don’t think it’s going to work. We’re going to stop it.”
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) has indicated that he wants to continue speaking with Quinn to come up with a bill that the governor is willing to sign. Cullerton expects to deal with the issue Nov. 29, when the fall veto session of the General Assembly reconvenes.