Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has issued his own scaled down proposal for expanded gambling in the state and has vowed to veto the “top heavy” gambling expansion bill approved by the legislature.
Gov. Pat Quinn has made it clear where he stands as he threatened Monday to veto the massive Senate Bill 744 fearing that the bill would allow Illinois to become the “Las Vegas of the Midwest”. Quinn has instead proposed a scaled-back alternative that would still allow a casino in Chicago, Lake County, the south suburbs, Rockford and Danville. However, Quinn’s proposal will not allow slot machines at racetracks, O’Hare and Midway airports and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Quinn stood firm in his stance saying: “We’re not going to have a willy-nilly gambling bill in Illinois that is not protecting integrity, that is way too big and excessive and doesn’t provide adequate revenue for education. … Casino gambling at 14 different locations in Illinois is way too much. We have no interest in becoming the Las Vegas of the Midwest. We need to retain our culture.”- HeraldNews.
Quinn’s proposal is sure to upset many in the horse racing industry, not only is he not allowing slot machines at racetracks, but Quinn also said he opposes providing any new subsidies for the racing industry as proposed by legislators.
In what appears to be an effort to cover his tracks and limit opposition, Quinn also wants to bar gaming licensees and casino operators from making political contributions to state officials. Quinn’s counterproposal comes just a week before lawmakers return to Springfield for the start of their fall veto session.
Quinn has repeatedly said he felt the bill was “top heavy,” and while his proposal trims the scope down, it does satisfy major supports like Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and proponents of gambling expansion in the state may be willing to compromise with Quinn’s proposal.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a mile apart between us,” state Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), the bill’s chief Senate sponsor, said after Quinn made his comments. “Maybe we’re a half-mile apart but not a mile apart. I think I see the governor has moved a long ways. He thought [the original bill] was ‘top-heavy,’ but now he’s OK with the five casinos. That’s a huge move in the right direction. I think maybe we can come to compromise on things.” –HeraldNews.