gambling expansion

Chase Cavanaugh

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:

Chase Cavanaugh

Rockford is moving ahead with its plans to build a casino after Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an expanded gambling bill into law Friday.

Mayor Tom McNamara says the city has 120 days from the bill’s signing to submit applications for the casino’s location and operator to the Illinois Gaming Board.  McNamara says the city is working to get its Request for Proposals out by July 4th.

“If we can get it out by Monday, that would be even more spectacular. But it’s a tight timeframe," he said. "A lot of work needs to go into this, obviously, because you’ve got one shot at this.”

With only four days left in the Illinois legislative session, some lawmakers say they are ready to move forward with a gambling expansion proposal.  But many others have pressing questions about diversity and business opportunities — one of several issues left to be worked out before the end of session May 31. 

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

Illinois lawmakers are back in Springfield Monday. They’ve got a long to-do list — with just five days until the end of session.

In addition to the usual state budget, members of the General Assembly are taking on an infrastructure plan, gambling expansion, marijuana legalization, and an entirely new system for the income tax.

State Rep. Robert Martwick, a Democrat from Chicago, is sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would allow Illinois to move from a flat tax to a graduated tax — where the wealthy pay a higher rate.

Illinois Senate Considers Expanded Gambling Bill

Jan 26, 2017
Yamaguchi先生/CC SA 3.0

The Illinois Senate began hearings Wednesday on a gambling expansion bill that calls for new casinos in Rockford, Chicago and its south suburbs, Danville, Lake County, and Williamson.  Critics say the market is oversaturated with riverboats and video gaming.  But Sen. Terry Link, D-Gurnee, says buses of people still are leaving the state to gamble.  

"I have a funny feeling those buses might be empty when Lake County, Rockford, Danville, and Chicago end up with a casino," he said, "because I think you're going to stop a lot of that exporting of our money to those other states."

Wikimedia Commons

Online betting on horse-races would continue to be legal in Illinois, under legislation advancing at the state capitol.

That's despite concerns of anti-gambling activities like Anita Bedell.

"This legalizes bookmaking on the internet, which is available 7 days a week non stop," she said at a recent Senate hearing.

Without legislative action, that authority expires early next year.

The measure is one of several up for debate that affects the gambling industry.

Flickr/Boroda

 Illinois lawmakers have several ideas for revenue sources as they work on a framework for a balanced state budget.

The legislature have about two weeks left to agree on a new plan, or risk taking the state into a new phase of uncertainty and political gamesmanship. After May 31, it takes a supermajority to pass a budget.

A bipartisan group of legislators came together, and last week presented the governor and legislative leaders with a menu of options for getting to a balanced budget.

Lawmaker Restarts Gambling Expansion Talks

Oct 24, 2013
ilga.gov

A Chicago-area legislator is trying to re-start negotiations over a big expansion of gambling.

Gambling was a big issue earlier this year, but negotiations fell apart in May, at the end of the spring legislative session. Since then, attention has moved to other issues, like the state's underfunded pension systems, according to  Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, and nothing has happened on gaming expansion.

So he held a hearing in which people with an interest in gambling could say where they stand. He acknowledges that little has changed since the spring.

Larry Morrissey

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey has outlined his plan for dividing revenues for a proposed casino. Morrissey wants the city to keep 70 percent of revenues, with the remaining 30 percent going to the Rockford Metropolitan Agency for Planning.  State lawmakers are debating a gambling expansion plan that includes a Rockford casino. Winnebago County Board Chairman Scott Christiansen calls the proposal "one-sided."

ilga.gov

For the third time in two years, the Illinois Senate has approved a measure that would allow five new casinos, including one in Rockford.

The difference this time is that Governor Pat Quinn might finally be willing to support the proposal.

The sponsor,Terry Link, D-Waukegan, says he's tried to meet the governor's demands, such as banning campaign donations by gambling license holders. Link also removed a provision that would have allowed online gambling.

ilga.gov

Members of the Illinois Senate sparred with gambling regulators this week over a plan to put a casino in Chicago. What started as policy disagreements turned into personal attacks.

ilga.gov

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."

Quinn Vetoes Gambling Expansion Bill

Mar 4, 2013

Gov. Pat Quinn waited until the last minute to act on a plan that would have given Illinois five new casinos – including one in Rockford – and allowed slot machines at horse race tracks.  

Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey expressed disappointment at the veto but was optimistic that a Rockford-based casino could be approved in the November veto session.

Quinn Vetos Gambling Expansion

Mar 4, 2013

Legislation to expand gambling the General Assembly approved nearly two years ago is finally dead.  Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a measure that would have given Illinois five new casinos.

When Quinn gives his annual budget address Wednesday, he's expected to highlight Illinois' plethora of financial problems.

That frustrates supporters of gambling expansion, who say more casinos would be like hitting the jackpot.

Beloit Casino Plan Still in Play

Jan 17, 2013
Ho-Chunk Nation

The Ho-Chunk Nation wants to build an off-reservation casino in Beloit. Ho-Chunk president Jon Greendeer says the application is under federal review, a process that could take another couple of years to complete. Greendeer says there's a lot that goes into it:

Quinn Mum on Gambling Expansion

Jan 16, 2013

Governor Pat Quinn refuses to be pinned down on what he'll do with legislation that expands gambling in Illinois -- creating five new casinos in cities like Chicago ... Rockford ... and Danville. Gov. Quinn will once again have the opportunity to approve or veto gambling legislation. But unlike past bills, this time it's take-it-or-leave-it -- the legislature won't have the chance to override a potential veto.

Illinois Casino Plan Still Lingers

Jan 14, 2013
ilga.gov

Longtime supporters of expanding gambling in Illinois say they'll soon have new legislation in the General Assembly. But the million-dollar question is whether Governor Pat Quinn might finally be willing to play along.

State of Illinois

It's called veto session because it's when the General Assembly's supposed to consider legislation the governor rejected or changed.  Theoretically, at least.  Legislators WILL deal with measures nixed by Governor Pat Quinn - including statewide regulation of plastic bags, and a plan to let cancer treatment centers reject job applicants who smoke.

Video Gaming Rolls Out in Illinois

Oct 10, 2012

There are 65 establishments in Illinois that can now legally pay out for video gaming wins. Illinois lawmakers approved it back in 2009, but it's taken that long for regulators to set it up.

Governor Pat Quinn has until Tuesday to act on the measure that would add five casinos in Illinois, including one for Rockford. The city of Chicago would also get a casino. 

Around Illinois – June 4

Jun 4, 2012

  • Does more truck traffic mean economy improvemnent?
  • Pension-reform session is a must: Quinn
  • Will the governor approve Rockford’s casino?
  • Chicago schools reach agreement with a union

Rockford is one step closer to a casino

May 23, 2012
worldcasinodirectory.com

The Illinois House, in a 69 to 47 vote, has passed a gambling expansion bill that would create new casinos -- including one in Rockford -- and allow slot machines at the state's racetracks.

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, says it will bring Illinois money it needs as the state faces steep budget cuts. Lang says that, as the budget process progresses, it’s clear the state isn't doing well enough.

“We haven't created enough jobs. We don't have enough revenue," he said. "Is this a panacea for all of our ills? Of course not.  Can it be step to build a better economy? Absolutely it can."