Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Gambling Bill Still on Table: Quinn

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Pat Quinn said he'll let legislators press their luck once more to try and pass a gambling bill that would put a casino in Chicago.

    "I really feel we will address this issue and hopefully resolve it by the 9th of January, which is the deadline for this session of the General Assembly," Quinn said after a Thursday event at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. "I'm very hopeful of that."

    While it sounds like the odds are in favor of the gambling bill, Quinn stood firm on his stance to create a bill that promotes integrity in the government.

    "When I vetoed the legislation before, it did not have dedicated earmarked money for education," Quinn said. "I think that's absolutely required, imperative, if we're going to do this. I feel if that's addressed, that certainly will go a long way toward getting the job done."

    The governor also said the bill needs to have a "statewide perspective."

    Just last month, Quinn showed he wasn't bluffing when he said he wasn't a fan of the Illinois gambling expansion plan. He ended up vetoing the bill.

    Lawmakers passed a bill earlier this year that would create five new casinos -- a land-based site in Chicago and four more on riverboats. The bill also would have allowed slot machines at horse racing tracks for the first time, another point Quinn has spoken out against.

    The veto promoted many of the bill's sponsors to believe Quinn never had any intention of passing a gambling bill.

    Emanuel said earlier this year the new casino would be the financial engine for miles of new roads and sewer lines, along with millions of dollars in rehab of the Chicago Transit Authority. Emanuel also has said Chicago has a casino but it's in Hammond, which continues to rake in money the mayor believes belongs to the Windy City.

    Quinn said a casino can't solve money troubles.

    "Illinois cannot gamble its way out of our fiscal challenges," he wrote last month when he vetoed the bill. "Even a casino on every street corner cannot repair the state's $83 billion unfunded pension liability."