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Rockford Casino Proposal Still In The Works


Lawmakers quickly proposed another plan to add a casino in Rockford and four other locations.  Governor Pat Quinn this week vetoed a gambling expansion plan would have added several new casinos and placed slot machines at horse race tracks. Quinn called the expansion "excessive."

Rockford Senator Dave Syverson co-sponsored the vetoed plan.  He says he still wants to see a casino in his district:

"The good news is we have another draft of legislation which encompasses some of the areas that the Governor said he was concerned about. It also puts stronger language in there for Chicago, which the Mayor is actively supporting now." - Sen. Dave Syverson

Syverson says he doesn't want to build an economy based on gaming. But says the casinos would be in areas that have to compete for dollars in neighboring states. Just like the previous plan, it would add casinos in Rockford, Chicago, Danville, and two Chicago suburbs.

"In the case of Rockford, there's an agreement in place that the revenues will be split between the city and county and all of the revenues will be used for economic development." - Sen. Dave Syverson

Mark Podemski is Vice President for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. He says he’s still optimistic, despite the failed attempts to get a casino approved:

"I believe that persistence is important, and that we continue to work to get it right. We are not planning on the funds at this point. We certainly would appreciate the resolutions coming forward on that. We appreciate the legislators continuing to move this action forward because it is important for our region." - Mark Podemski, RAEDC

Syverson says some of the revenue would be used for 4-H programs and county fairs. He says it could get introduced as early as this week.

Jenna Dooley has spent her professional career in public radio. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and the Public Affairs Reporting Program at the University of Illinois - Springfield. She returned to Northern Public Radio in DeKalb after several years hosting Morning Edition at WUIS-FM in Springfield. She is a former "Newsfinder of the Year" from the Illinois Associated Press and recipient of NIU's Donald R. Grubb Journalism Alumni Award. She is an active member of the Illinois News Broadcasters Association and an adjunct instructor at NIU.
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