Emanuel: Quinn will come around on Chicago casino

July 14, 2011

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Emanuel held a press conference on Thursday at the city's water treatment plant.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel suggested on Thursday he expects Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to sign legislation that would bring a casino to Chicago.

Emanuel lobbied lawmakers to pass the monster gaming bill that would allow for five new casinos, including one in the city.

"It's not that I came into the casino [debate] as an enthusiast," Emanuel told reporters.

Rather, Emanuel said the city needs the revenue and the jobs, and doesn't want Chicagoans' cash going to casinos in Indiana.

"And I do believe that when the governor weighs it, and weighs all the equities, and analyzes it, he'll come to the conclusion that I think I came to on behalf of the city of Chicago," Emanuel predicted.

Quinn has criticized the bill as "excessive," but has not said if he'll veto it, or sign it. He can't actually do either at this point, because Senate President John Cullerton has used a procedural move to hold on to the bill.

Emanuel's prediction that Quinn will land in the pro-casino column comes a day after the outspoken head of the Illinois Gaming Board, Aaron Jaffee, called the legislation "garbage." Jaffe said if Quinn signs the bill, he'd be "flabbergasted."