Illinois Gambling Supporters To Revisit Casino Plans
Gov. Pat Quinn Still Opposes Casino Expansion
Last Wednesday, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn laid out a budget proposal that would close 59 different state-run facilities that include prisons and care centers, but gambling supporters are hoping that a casino expansion bill will help to alleviate the pressure on the state to impose those cuts.
The governor’s aides are continuing to work with those in favor of expanding the state’s current gambling landscape to work out a negotiation behind closed doors. Proponents say that one-time licensing fees for casinos in Rockford, Danville, Cook County, Lake County and Chicago could bring the state up to $1 billion in revenue, but the governor isn’t buying casinos as a cure for the state’s massive debt.
“We don’t think you can gamble your way out of this budget mess,” said Brooke Anderson, the Gov. Quinn’s representative.
Some of the state’s mayors, such as East Moline’s John Thodos, are just hoping to allow parimutuel horse racing sites to install slot machines, but even that prospect seems like a long shot thanks to the governor’s stance on gambling. East Moline currently collects property taxes from the Quad-City Downs, but has not collected any gambling revenue since 1995, the year of the site’s last live horse race.
Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), who helped to draft last year’s gambling expansion plan, is hoping to get a new package together to be voted on by members of the House and Senate later this spring.
Though new casinos or the inclusion of slots could bring an additional 5,000 jobs to the state, lobbyists are currently worried about the 28,000 jobs that will be lost if the Gov. Quinn’s budget cuts are approved.
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