Illinois Senate Moves Gaming Expansion Forward

Days after Governor Pat Quinn vetoed a measure that would authorize a major expansion of gambling in Illinois, the state Senate is moving forward with new legislation that would expand gambling even further.  Chris Slaby has more.

The controversial measure would allow up to 13 new gaming sites.

Like previous plans, this one includes five new casinos, in Chicago, its suburbs, Danville, and Rockford, as well as at horse race tracks.

But it also authorizes slot machines at O’Hare and Midway airports, and it introduces online gambling in Illinois.

Much of Governor Pat Quinn’s criticism of prior proposals focused on a lack of regulatory oversight.  He says he wants to ban campaign contributions from the gambling industry.

The measure’s sponsor, Senator Terry Link, says this latest plan addresses the governor’s concerns.

Link, a Democrat from Waukegan, also says it helps tackle problems.

While Quinn’s budget proposal calls for $400 million dollars in cuts to education, Link says new casino revenue COULD raise that much, and send it to schools.

LINK: “Well, I think it’s great. I think it’s a step forward. I think it helps the state considerably.”

Link’s plan also calls for money to go toward pensions, and to pay down the state’s bill backlog.

—Chris Slaby

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