According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois House of Representatives has passed a major gambling expansion bill in a 69-47 vote. The bill would specifically allow Chicago to have new casinos, as well as four other cities across the state. Additionally, it would put slot machines at horse racing tracks and add more gambling positions for riverboat casinos.
Here are some facts about the bill, the controversy surrounding it, and what it would mean for gambling in Illinois:
* Gov. Pat Quinn has continued to actively stand against gambling expansion in the state and criticized the Illinois House's passing of the bill by emphasizing that it has "major ethical shortcomings" and "falls well short of protecting the people of Illinois," noted the Associated Press.
* The governor has said he would veto the bill, saying that it's unlikely he'll ever support such a bill as the chief of state, and the Illinois House needed just two votes to completely override his veto.
* The Quad-City Times reported that last year a state gambling expansion bill passed in both the Illinois Senate and the House but the Senate decided not to forward it to Gov. Quinn because of the certain veto.
* Tony Petrillo, the general manager of Arlington Park Racecourse, which runs the Quad-City Downs, noted the importance of the bill for people in Illinois, saying "it means jobs and revenue for the state and the area around East Moline."
* Illinois' gambling expansion bill is being sponsored by Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) and the Legislature had been waiting for the governor to offer an alternative proposal, which he never did.
* Rep. Lang is predicting that the measure could raise between $300 million to over $1 billion for the state each year in addition to sales tax revenue from spin-offs, meaning a large potential economic boost for Illinois.
* Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) rejected the bill by emphasizing that it was "out of hand" and said other lawmakers should also do so because it would cause people to lose money who can least afford to lose it.
* Under the bill, Chicago would get a casino, as well as the cities of Rockford, Danville, and Park City. The Chicago casino would be owned by the city and it could either be land-based or a "river boat" in which it would be docked on Lake Michigan.
* Similarly, the Illinois Gaming Board would be the "supreme authority" in terms of casinos and gambling expansion in the state.
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. As a college student from the Chicago suburbs pursuing two science degrees, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.