Tue December 27, 2011
Ill. Gov. could sign off on gambling plan, on his terms
One person put a stop to more gambling in Illinois this year. Gov. Pat Quinn refused to go along with a package that would have added casinos, expanded existing sites and put slot machines at horse tracks.
Illinois seemed on track for the biggest gaming expansion since riverboat casinos went in the water 20 years ago. The General Assembly approved it. But Governor Quinn blocked the attempt. Quinn wanted less gambling in what was a huge package.
"I scaled it back," said Quinn. "If we are going to have expansion it should be very targeted and balanced. I proposed a casino in Chicago, one in the south suburbs, one in Lake County and then one in Rockford and Danville. That's five. That's enough."
The problem was that taking items out of the carefully crafted measure meant more lawmakers dropped their support.
Quinn says if it happens in the future, it will be on his terms. He wants stricter oversight of casinos, the revenue coming in to the state to go mostly to education and he won't back a plan the size of what was on the table this year. Most expect there will be another run at trying to pass something in the next year. But if Quinn refuses to budge, getting enough votes will be difficult.