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Report Commissioned By Quinn Casts Doubt On Gambling Revenues

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

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

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Updated 11/22/11 – 3:15 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A new report commissioned by Gov. Pat Quinn says the initial gambling expansion bill passed by lawmakers in May would bring in about $840 million less in new revenue than supporters have claimed.

“Some of the people who are exaggerating the amounts in Springfield, I think need to be brought to their senses and to reality. The amounts of money are not infinite, they are not in the billions,” Quinn said Tuesday as he was in Chicago to volunteer packing fruit for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

The study by the New Orleans-based Innovation Group found that the gambling expansion bill passed by the Legislature in May would generate about $160 million in new annual gaming revenue, not the extra $1 billion supporters have claimed.

It would have created five new casinos in Illinois, including the first one within the Chicago city limits. It also would have allowed for slot machines at racetracks, at O’Hare and Midway airports and at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

The bill was never sent to the governor. He threatened to veto it because he opposes slot machines at racetracks.

The governor added that the study just proves that his more moderate plan is the way to go.

“I’ve proposed a reasonable plan, there’d be five casinos, one in Chicago, one in the south suburbs, one in Lake County, one in Danville and one in Rockford. I think that’s enough, more than enough.”

Quinn says he hopes lawmakers will go back to the table and come up with a new plan.

“We want to meet with legislators from both parties, both houses and we’re going to give them this report which they should read and see first hand what the real numbers are. To run around and peddle fairy tales about the numbers is not helpful to anybody,” he said.

Lawmakers tried to pass a scaled-down gambling plan that would have eliminated slots at the airports and state fair, but kept slots at the tracks. That bill fell short in the House, however.

Quinn reiterated earlier this month that he will not sign off on a gambling bill until lawmakers “get it right.”

Lawmakers are set to return to Springfield for a final veto session beginning Nov. 29.