Former Illinois Gov backs gambling expansion bill

jim edgarWith all the backlash from opponents the Illinois gambling bill has received, it was almost strange to hear a strong vote of confidence for it, particularly when that vote came from former Illinois governor, Jim Edgar.

Jim Edgar sided with proponents from the state’s horse racing industry today to encourage Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the pending gambling expansion bill. The bill has been put through a great deal of scrutiny for its scope and Gov Quinn has maintained that he hasn’t had it cross his desk just yet. Edgar is hoping that when it does, Quinn does the right thing.

Edgar has lent his support to the Illinois gambling expansion measure because he feels it is the only way to save the horse racing industry, which he says was booming before casinos came in and rejects the notion that the state and casinos are subsidizing horse racing.

According to Edgar, “If you don’t do it, then that industry goes away and you’ve got 30,000 people looking for jobs,” he says. “Many of those people will end up being subsidized by the state, and we can’t afford that.”- WJBC

The measure would allow slot machines at race tracks, and would allow five new casino licenses in the state. The problem with bill is that it’s so large and contains so much that its bound to rub too many people and too many interests the wrong way. The Gaming Board doesn’t think they can police the flood of new gambling and have repeatedly slammed the bill. Even Edgar doesn’t agree with all the bill encompasses, but feels the overall ends justify the means.

“Do I like everything in the bill? Not necessarily,” Edgar says. “But overall, I think it’s a good bill and it will help Illinois. It’ll save racing and it’ll also help the state treasury, which needs help.”- WJBC