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Speaker Not Optimistic About Casino Expansion This Year

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(Credit: CBS)

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ELMHURST, Ill. (CBS) – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Tuesday that he’s not sure casino legislation will be going very far in Springfield this spring.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports while Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to push for casino expansion, including a Chicago casino, Madigan noted the governor is opposed to other parts of gaming expansion plans.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Gov. Pat Quinn has voiced strong opposition to plans that would allow slot machines at Illinois racetracks, a key component to a gambling expansion plan that stalled in the legislature last year because of the governor’s opposition.

In addition, some lawmakers have questioned Chicago’s desire for a city-owned casino license.

“You’d have a two-tiered system,” Madigan said during a government forum at Elmhurst College. “You’d have the existing casinos and then you’d have a different arrangement for the Chicago casino, because it would be owned by the government. A real tough issue and I don’t know what the end of it will be. I just don’t know.”

According to news reports, lawmakers have been looking at ways to expand casino gambling without putting slot machines at racetracks in order to win Quinn’s support.

But that would mean coming up with another way to improve revenue for the horse racing industry, which has been hampered by the state’s casinos. And appeasing the horse racing industry has long been vital in any efforts to expand casino gambling, as certain lawmakers oppose gambling expansion without help for racetracks.

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