Rockford Leaders Call On Chicago In Casino Quest

Apr 29, 2019

Rockford Chamber of Commerce President Einar Forsman (left) and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara take questions on the letter to Chicago Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot
Credit Guy Stephens

Rockford’s mayor sent an open letter to Chicago’s mayor-elect asking her to join a push to add casinos in both their cities.

The letter to Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot was published as a full-page ad in the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times newspapers. It was signed by Mayor Tom McNamara and Rockford Chamber President Einar Forsman. McNamara said the two cities -- and other Illinois border cities -- have a lot in common. That includes wanting to tap into money that now goes to casinos out-of-state.

“We’re not competing with Chicago,” he said. “We’re not competing with Danville. We’re actually partnering with these communities that deserve a casino.”

The letter highlighted past attempts to bring casinos to both their cities. 

“We’ve always had good relations with the city of Chicago," he said. "And Mayor-elect Lightfoot has already stated her strong support of having a casino. So we hope that we can join forces in that effort.” 

The privately-funded campaign will include print ads in the Springfield Journal Register and digital ads targeting the state capital. 

Past bills expanding the number of casinos in Illinois died in the Legislature. McNamara hopes a united front with Chicago will help this effort succeed. He said the timing is right as state lawmakers consider ways to bolster revenues.