Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker visited Rockford Monday morning to mark the start of the process toward building a new casino in the area.
Organizers handed out playing cards and poker chips that read "J.B. Bet On Us" and "Our Governor Is Aces." A bill he signed last week allows for 6 new casinos statewide, mostly in cities near the Illinois border. Pritzker said casino revenue is a key component of his capital plan:
“This additional revenue helps ease some of the pressure on escalating property taxes," he said, "and most importantly, we’re going to do everything possible to help Rockford beat Beloit and attract casino-goers from across the border."
A portion of gambling revenue will go to cities that host the casinos, Rockford included. Illinois Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton said the project will also bring in new construction jobs.
"As Rockford builds its casino, people from across this great city will be included, and empowered and represented," she said. "And that’s why I’m so proud to say to the people of Rockford who are here today, we believe you, believe in you, and we are investing in you."
Pritzker and Stratton were accompanied by state lawmakers that pushed for the expanded gambling bill to fund the plan. These included Senators Dave Syverson and Steve Stadelman and Representative Maurice West.