Rahm on Casino: “I Want it For Our Kids”

Chicago mayor confident state and city can work out issues

As Gov. Pat Pat Quinn takes the weekend to mull through the proposed gambling expansion bill on his desk, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is stating his case for why it would be good for the city.

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 would also allow slot machines at horse racing tracks for the first time.

Emanuel said Thursday that he doesn't want the revenue a casino would bring for city coffers, but would rather divert it to schools.

"As I've said before and I'll say it again, if we were to get a casino, I'd like to direct all the resources to school modernization and school improvement so our kids will be in modern school buildings with a full school day and full school year," Emanuel said.

On the surface, the two pols' issues are aligned -- Quinn reiterated Wednesday that he also wants gambling revenue to go toward education. But the governor has vetoed gambling bills in the past, and many experts wouldn't be surprised if he were to do it again by Tuesday's deadline.

"Those are the choices we make, and I understand the governor has concerns, and we've talked, and I'm respectful he has some issues and I respect that," Emanuel said.

Quinn said Thursday that he was concerned about a provision in the bill that would allow the Chicago casino to have its own oversight board.

"We cannot have gambling in Chicago without strong oversight by regulators who are no-nonsense men and women of integrity," Quinn said

Emanuel points toward a study showing Hammond, Ind. generating $20 million a month in revenue from Chicago gamblers -- money that's used for scholarship programs.

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