Sponsor reviving talks on Ill. gambling expansion

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 2:25 pm

CHICAGO — The sponsor of a bill that would add five new casinos in Illinois and allow slot machines at both major Chicago airports says he plans to revive talks on the measure next week in hopes of coming up with a deal.

Rep. Robert Rita, a Democrat from Blue Island, said today that he wants to begin discussing multiple concerns that prevented a House vote on the bill during the spring legislative session. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 23 in Springfield before the House Executive Committee.

“Let’s put the attention back on what we had going ... to ultimately pass a bill the governor will sign,” Rita said.

The measure could provide state and local governments millions in much-needed revenue. It would add casinos in Chicago, Rockford, Danville, Chicago’s south suburbs and Lake County. It also calls for numerous slot machines, including at O’Hare and Midway international airports, and would set aside revenues for economically depressed communities and other groups.

Rita opted not to call the bill on the final day of the spring session, saying it wasn’t ready and he needed time to talk with opponents about their concerns.

Among the biggest critics is Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe, who says the bill doesn’t include enough oversight of a Chicago casino to prevent corruption.

Others raised concerns about how revenue would be shared, the location of the Lake County casino and the tax structure for existing and new casinos.

A vote on the measure is unlikely during the fall veto session, though Rita said he wouldn’t entirely rule it out.

Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has vetoed two previous gambling bills, saying they didn’t provide enough ethical protections.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Weather Forecast

View Forecast

Online Poll

Do you think CEO pay is out of step with the rest of the American workforce?

A recent survey indicates the average salary for CEOs climbed by nearly $470,000 last year -- more than 10 times what the typical U.S. worker makes annually.

Total Votes: 288