Gov. Quinn rejects plan to expand Illinois gambling

August 28, 2012

(WBEZ/Lauren Chooljian)
Gov. Quinn at a press conference early Tuesday.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vetoed the gambling expansion bill Tuesday that would have brought a casino to Chicago, saying the proposal lacked sufficient regulatory oversight.

Quinn has never come out in full support of the bill - which would also include slot machines at racetracks and four other casinos. The governor always said if there was going to be more gambling in Illinois, then he wanted a strong ethical framework.

And today was no different.

"You know, there are two of my predecessors that are in jail who didn’t focus on integrity, and my job is to do that all the time," Quinn said.

Quinn said the bill contained "loopholes for mobsters" and said he wants the bill to include a ban on campaign contributions by casino operators and other gambling interests.

And the governor also stressed - as always - that pension reform is his top priority.

"You could have a casino on every street corner and it still would not deal with the 83 billion dollar liability our state has because of the pension issue," he said. 

Quinn says a different gaming package could come together by the end of this session. According to the governor, the gambling package he vetoed won't be the bill that becomes law. Lawmakers can still vote to override that veto.