Huffpost Chicago

Illinois Casino Expansion Bill Remains At Standstill, May Not Come To Vote In Fall Session

Posted: Updated:

With the installation of almost 40,000 new gaming positions potentially at stake statewide, the casino expansion bill which languished in legislative purgatory all summer remains, essentially, at a standstill in the midst of the Springfield veto session.

On Wednesday, gambling expansion supporters, led by State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) introduced a new bill they said should take care of the bulk of Governor Pat Quinn's many concerns with the expansion.

While its proponents say the new bill, Senate Bill 747, increases oversight, reduces the number of gaming positions and offers more funding for education, the governor's office criticized Link's legislation as a "charade" and "not a legitimate proposal," the Chicago News Cooperative reports. The governor's plan for gaming expansion cut slot machines proposed for horse racing tracks and O'Hare and Midway International airports, among other tweaks.

"We laid out a framework for gambling expansion," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson told the News Cooperative. "You don't plop it in a bill and call it a day without the participation of the governor's office."

Quinn's consistent opposition to the gaming expansion bill drew the criticism of State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, who told the State Journal-Register that he was curious how "the governor who has lamented the lack of revenue would so flippantly turn his back on this revenue." Per the Daily Herald, Murphy said Quinn has exhibited a "failure of leadership" with how the governor has handled the ongoing gambling debate.

The original gaming legislation, Senate Bill 744, paved the way for five new Illinois casinos to be built, including one in downtown Chicago, for which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has expressed his support as both a revenue and job generator. The measure was put on a legislative hold by Senate President John Cullerton (D), a supporter of the expansion, after it was narrowly approved by the state General Assembly this spring, reportedly because he feared the governor's veto.

Cullerton reportedly met with Quinn to discuss the matter in a private setting this week. Meanwhile, state Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the gambling bill is off the table for discussion during the rest of this week's session and that "there's a chance" the issue may not be taken up at all during the state legislature's next short session, which begins Nov. 8.

Photo by Rob Boudon via Flickr.

Around the Web

Illinois casino bill has Indiana nervous | WBEZ

Is Illinois's Casino Expansion Bill Awaiting Quinn's Signature On Life ...

In Illinois, Casino Bill's True Believer Enters the Final Stretch ...

Illinois Slots & Casino Bill On Hold « CBS St. Louis

Illinois Gaming Board urges Quinn not to sign casino bill ...

Governor's office says new casino bill 'a charade'

Could a gambling compromise get done?

Casino bill may cost schools over $100M over 2 years: study