Since Gov. Pat Quinn refused to sign a bill expanding gambling in Illinois intended to reduce a $15 billion budget deficit, Illinois Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) is meeting privately with members of the Gaming Committee to discuss ways of retooling the legislation to meet Quinn’s approval.
Link is the sponsor of Senate Bill 744, which would allow slot machines at racetracks, airports and state fairgrounds, and he is meeting with members of the Illinois Senate Gaming Committee to reach an agreement on different ways of reworking and repackaging SB 744, which Quinn has already threatened to veto.
Quinn did not sign the bill last October, stating that it falls well short of the best interest of the people of Illinois.
If Quinn reconsiders his stance on signing the bill, it would make Illinois the sixth leading state in gambling revenue, according to Illinois Gaming Board.
Data from the Board shows that Illinois would trail only Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi, Indiana and Louisiana.
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has filed a motion for Quinn to reconsider SB 744, said Rikeesha Phelon, press secretary for Cullerton.
Phelon said Cullerton has been listening to lawmakers on ways to improve the bill so that Quinn might be more likely to sign it.
“Everyone that is interested is still meeting,” said Bunny Fourez, legislative secretary to Illinois Sen. Link. “The reason is to try and gain money from the state.”
Over the past several months, Quinn has said he’s adamantly opposed to the state losing money, and has expressed concerns about adding slot machines because casino revenue is already declining in Illinois.
Data collected from the Illinois Gaming Board shows state-earned taxes from casinos have been steadily decreasing during the past decade, falling 6 percent during the past decade from $410 million in 2000 to $384 million last year.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he believes the bill would bring the city one step closer to job creation and economic growth, and estimated it could bring between 7,000 to 10,000 jobs to Chicago.
Sen. Link is currently meeting privately with members of the Gaming committee to reach an agreement to try and change a few plans in the bill to reverse Quinn’s stance on the SB744, according to Fourez.
“Nothing will be done until agreements are met and Gov. Quinn signs, which he is strongly opposed to,” said Fourez.
If Quinn signs off on the bill, it would go into effect immediately.
- Renewed Optimism for Deal on Gambling Expansion (chicagonewscoop.org)