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Illinois governor rejects plan to expand state's gambling

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday rejected a bill to expand gambling in the state, including a new land-based casino in Chicago, saying the proposal lacked sufficient regulatory oversight.

With two of his predecessors in prison, the Chicago Democrat has made it clear he must preserve his political integrity in the plan, which also proposed establishing four new riverboat casinos and allowing slot machines at racetracks.

The most glaring omission from the bill "is the absence of strict ethical standards and comprehensive regulatory oversight. Illinois should never settle for a gaming bill that includes loopholes for mobsters," Quinn said in a prepared statement.

Supporters of the bill estimated the expansion could have brought in up to $1 billion a year, boost tourism and create 100,000 jobs for the state.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the establishment of a city casino.

But opponents said more casinos could saturate some markets and raised concerns about the social cost.

The proposal would have established a city-owned Chicago casino with spots for 4,000 people to gamble at once. It also would have added riverboat casinos in Danville, Park City, Rockford and an undecided location in Chicago's south suburbs. Each riverboat casino would have had 1,600 gambling positions, and allowed Illinois' 10 existing casinos to grow.

Expanded gambling in Illinois could put a further hit on Indiana's 20-year-old casino industry, which saw admissions fall to their lowest level in 14 years in 2011.

Earlier attempts at expanding gambling in Illinois have failed. Lawmakers approved a similar plan last year but did not send the plan to the governor, who had threatened a veto.

Quinn, who isn't opposed to gambling on principal, had said all along that he wanted a bill with stronger ethical protections. That includes barring the gambling industry from making political contributions.

"Everybody should be concerned about ethics in our state. We have two governors, my predecessors, both in jail. That's a pretty darn important issue for our state to have integrity at all times in every part of government, and that includes regulating casinos," he said Monday. "It must be airtight when it comes to protecting the public."

In response, lawmakers also filed a so-called trailer bill to address some of Quinn's concerns. However that wouldn't be considered unless the initial law is signed, and Quinn has said he'd rather get all the legislation signed at once.

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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