Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Chicago Casino in Thompson Center?

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The idea of a casino within Chicago city limits remains questionable ahead of a vote either way from Gov. Pat Quinn. But that doesn't mean Chicagoans aren't thinking about it.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper told the Sun-Times he knows the perfect spot to plop a casino -- in the James R. Thompson Center.

It could occupy the first floor, lower level and hotel rooms on the upper floors, said Roper, who added that the building is a money suck for Illinois and in need of a renovation soon anyway.

The Thompson Center is the latest of several location ideas, including the old Post Office, Trump Tower, McCormick Place and Block 37 as possible landing places for a Windy City gambling haven.
But where to put a casino is moot unless Quinn decides to approve the proposed gambling expansion bill that would open five casinos in Illinois, including one in Chicago.

"We're not going to have any kind of expansion of gambling in our state that’s done in a slipshod manner," Quinn said. "If there isn’t integrity in the process, I can’t support it."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants it. He's so excited about the potential Chicago revenue surge, Quinn accused him of earmarking the money before it's approved.

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, who sponsored the gambling expansion bill that passed the General Assembly earlier this year, told Ward Room he thinks Illinois needs it. 

"For me, gaming has always been about economic development," Lang said. "You could take out the word gaming and put in automobiles or put in Starbucks. We have a responsibility to take what is a legal industry and make it work better and put people to work."

But several groups, including the Chicago Crime Commission, don't love the idea, worrying about addiction, crime and loopholes to allow gangsters to get control of slots.

Related Topics Pat Quinn, Rahm Emanuel
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