Ward Room
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Quinn: Gambling Supporters are Peddling Fairy Tales

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Gov. Pat Quinn is not ready to bend when it comes to adding slot machines at race tracks, and he says gambling supporters are over-stating their case as to the financial windfall that will come to the state.

    "To run around and peddle fairy tales is not helpful to anybody," he said Tuesday, referencing a new study by the Innovations Group, billed as a private consultant out of New Orleans.

    This new study notes gambling expansion in the state would lead to an additional $160 million a year, but far short of the $1 billion promised by gaming supporters. Quinn also noted the report said slots at the tracks would negatively impact the five new proposed casinos.

    Still, the lead on the gambling expansion bill in the Illinois House, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), said he'll be ready if the bill is called for a vote when lawmakers return to Springfield next week.

    Lang said he'll have the votes he needs to pass the revised gaming bill "if all of the members are there."

    But don't count on the governor's signature.

    "The gambling enthusiasts, frankly, if they come back with the same proposal as before, they’ll get the same result as before. I’m not going to sign what they’re peddling; it’s bad for Illinois," he said.
     
    The original bill was sidelined by opposition from the governor. He criticized the bill for its over-saturation of gambling and said it shortchanges education and fails to provide adequate oversight by the Illinois gaming board.

    Lang's revised version scaled back the number of gambling positions and gave the gaming board more time to investigate proposed licenses. But it kept in slots at racetracks -- something Quinn doesn't want -- and a casino in Park City in Lake County, a decision the governor wanted left up to the county.

    Lang's bill failed when it came up for a vote earlier this month.