The new mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, said Wednesday that he wants a casino in Chicago city limits.
After his first city council meeting ended, Emanuel told reporters that the time has come to bring a revenue generating gambling establishment here to compete with our neighbors in Wisconsin, Indiana and the suburbs. His comments were aimed squarely at Springfield.
"We have a casino in Chicago," Emanuel said. "It just happens to be in Hammond, Indiana. And we're losing that revenue."
The mayor won't be the first to try pushing a casino for the city. Legislation has been floated before, but has never come to fruition, and state legislators didn't offer hope this time around.
The idea of a Chicago casino -- on land, on boat, and by air at O'Hare -- has certainly been floated in the past.
With 12 days left in the legislative session Springfield lawmakers are getting the message from Chicago's new Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- move on a Chicago casino.
State Rep. Lou Lang said he's "tweaking the final details and hopes to finish it up today or tomorrow." He's likely to propose five new Illinois casinos -- one in Chicago -- and more slots at horse race tracks.
Emanuel said that while he wants a casino in Chicago, it has to be "with the right conditions."
Some state lawmakers think because of Emanuel's support perhaps a casino will make its way through the legislature this session.
"If the rest of the state can have riverboats, why not Chicago?" asked Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale).
Still, Dillard said he believes five new casinos are too many.
Some lawmakers are looking for Emanuel to make his way to the state capitol before the May 31 adjournment. Although it's not on his schedule just yet, there's time and certainly the need for him to do more than say hello to the power brokers there.
Although the state has to give the first approval to expand gambling, it would then be up to the Chicago City Council to decide where the casino would be built.
Places like Block 37, Trump Tower and McCormick Place have all been discussed.
Chicago voters surveyed in December supported a city casino by 47 to 41 percent.