WBEZ | Chicago casino http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-casino Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Mayor, Illinois lawmakers make case for Chicago casino http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-illinois-lawmakers-make-case-chicago-casino-106988 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3576_4682386-men-s-hands-shuffle-a-deck-of-cards-at-a-casino-table_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Visitors to the nation&#39;s third-largest city are usually spotted wandering the Magnificent Mile, snapping pictures of the Willis Tower and sampling Chicago-style deep dish pizza, but if some persistent Illinois lawmakers and Mayor Rahm Emanuel get their way, a glitzy casino would be on their agenda, too.</p><p>Trying to land a Chicago casino has become an annual sticking point, despite political gusto from mayors and legislators who want to expand gambling in Illinois. Gov. Pat Quinn has axed two gambling bills and invoked images of infiltrating &quot;mobsters.&quot; Along that same theme, the head of the Illinois Gaming Board said the pending plan is inherently problematic because of the way a Chicago casino will be managed.</p><p>Still, the latest bill &mdash; which recently cleared the Illinois Senate and also would allow slot machines located in lounges at O&#39;Hare and Midway &mdash; appears to have the best chance yet.</p><p>Quinn has softened his stance as Illinois faces mountainous money problems. Meanwhile, Emanuel is pushing hard for the proposal, lawmakers are eager to rework it and business leaders would love the chance to plant a casino in Chicago &mdash; the largest American city to date &mdash; with thousands of noisy slots, an entertainment venue and a continuous flow of money-spending tourists.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not just another riverboat casino, it has the potential to be a destination in its own right,&quot; said Jack Johnson, head of the Chicago Convention &amp; Tourism Bureau. &quot;Anytime you can add another destination to Chicago, it&#39;s one more reason to come.&quot;</p><p>The bill calls for five new Illinois casinos, including one in Chicago, and airport slots. If airports want them, Chicago would be unique among U.S. airports outside Las Vegas. The plan would establish a Chicago Casino Development Authority, a board of mayoral appointees. The Illinois Gaming Board would have regulatory oversight, but most everything else, including contracts and day-to-day operations, falls to the city board.</p><p>And there&#39;s the potential rub.</p><p>Some experts raised concerns at the Chicago setup when compared with urban casinos &mdash; in Philadelphia, Detroit and New Orleans &mdash; where the state board oversees everything.</p><p>&quot;That is a rare situation,&quot; said Doug Walker, an economics professor at the College of Charleston. &quot;Anytime you have a new group of regulators, there&#39;s another potential area for corruption.&quot;</p><p>That very issue prompted state gaming board head Aaron Jaffe to question why Chicago needed its own board and resulted in a spat with lawmakers during a hearing on the bill last month. That followed similar questions from Quinn, who vetoed gambling bills over lack of ethical standards. It&#39;s a theme he often brings up in a state where four of the last seven governors have gone to prison, including his predecessor Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>Even opponents who typically raise concerns about potential social costs &mdash; including increases in problem gambling &mdash; are also talking about ethical concerns. Partly that&#39;s because it&#39;s not hard to find corruption headlines in a city that&#39;s been under a court order to root out political patronage or where federal data shows more than 1,500 public corruption convictions since the mid-1970s.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;ve had scandals ... all kinds of scandals,&quot; said Anita Bedell, head of the Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems. &quot;You think it&#39;s going to be different now?&quot;</p><p>Lawmakers acknowledged some of those concerns in the proposal, adding a ban on political contributions from the industry, an inspector general and, most recently, stating explicitly that the state board has final say over all regulation.</p><p>But the Chicago board remains in place.</p><p>&quot;They&#39;re like the business manager,&quot; explained Democratic Sen. Terry Link, a bill sponsor. He says it&#39;s not unlike other Chicago entities. The state created the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns McCormick Place, a convention center. Both the mayor and governor appoint members.</p><p>Emanuel, who said he supports Quinn&#39;s ethical oversight concerns, also defended a city board, saying it&#39;s needed to protect Chicago taxpayers&#39; interests.</p><p>The mayor boosted his support for the casino this week by pledging 100 percent of revenue will go to schools. The move comes as he proceeds with a controversial plan to close 54 schools and follows last year&#39;s teachers strike.</p><p>Quinn has said he&#39;d support more gambling if it helps Illinois, including nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension debt, the worst nationwide. The plan is expected to bring in roughly $1.2 billion in one-time revenue and about $270 million annually. But Quinn has been noncommittal on whether he&#39;d sign the bill if House lawmakers approve it. He&#39;s also reticent on specifics, like what he thinks of the Chicago board.</p><p>Meanwhile, urban planners and tourism officials hope a Chicago casino boosts business. No specifics on a location have been publicly discussed, but some potential sites have been mentioned.</p><p>Urban planner Kim Goluska, who for nearly two decades did casino research for former Mayor Richard Daley, said possible sites include the glass-paneled James R. Thompson Center downtown, a state building with an enormous atrium; the Congress Plaza Hotel on Michigan Avenue; and Chicago&#39;s former main post office, a dingy building straddling a freeway.</p><p>Others include a former hospital site on the South Side and McCormick.</p><p>Johnson said that any site could work, depending on transportation. He pointed to the success of Wrigley Field and the Steppenwolf Theatre as tourists destinations, which aren&#39;t downtown.</p><p>Goluska said any casino should be incorporated into the city&#39;s urban core to buttress other businesses. His top pick would be the Thompson Center, which is walking distance to Chicago&#39;s Theater District, shopping and hotels.</p><p>&quot;The spinoff benefit of doing this right should make the gaming revenue pale by comparison,&quot; said Goluska, president of Chicago Consultants Studio, Inc. &quot;It&#39;s important that this is done right.&quot;</p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 13:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/mayor-illinois-lawmakers-make-case-chicago-casino-106988 Quinn report: State won't get much money from gambling expansion http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-report-state-wont-get-much-money-gambling-expansion-94269 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-01/Casino Slot Machines_Getty_Christopher Furlong.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn's office touted a new report Monday that concludes Illinois wouldn't get much extra money through a massive expansion of gambling, a finding that seems to support the governor's call for a more restrained approach.</p><p>The report says an initial gambling&nbsp;expansion bill passed by lawmakers would bring in about $160 million in new annual gaming revenue for the state and not the extra $1 billion they say some have claimed. That bill was never sent to Quinn, who threatened to veto it because it included slots at racetracks, which he opposes. It did include five new casinos, including the first one in Chicago. Illinois currently has 10 casinos.</p><p>Chicago also would benefit more from gambling&nbsp;expansion if casino-style gambling with slot machines at race tracks isn't allowed, said a summary of the report by the New Orleans-based Innovation Group.</p><p>"A lot of these racetracks with casinos are going to be on top of other casinos. They will dilute the amount of gaming, so that will cause lower amounts for other casinos," said Jack Lavin, Quinn's chief of staff.</p><p>The Illinois horse-racing industry has said it needs slots at tracks to survive and compete with other states.</p><p>The report studied not only the original gambling bill also two other scenarios that excluded slots at tracks and had fewer gaming positions at the casinos. Quinn's office said the report was commissioned in September and cost less than $20,000.</p><p>Democratic Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie, a sponsor of the gambling&nbsp;expansion measure, said estimates can be low when it comes to gaming revenues. But even if the governor's report underestimates how much money a gambling&nbsp;expansion would bring in, it's still new money for the state, even if it's less than proponents have suggested.</p><p>"Who else is proposing $160 million new dollars to the state of Illinois," Lang said, adding that opening casinos would also create new jobs.</p><p>Lang said he's unsure whether lawmakers will try again to advance a gambling&nbsp;expansion bill when they return to Springfield on Nov. 29. Lawmakers are due back in session to try to hash out a tax incentive deal to try to keep several big companies that are threatening to leave the state and at the same time offer broader tax relief to Illinoisans.</p><p>If gambling does some up, Lang said he feels confident he has the votes to pass a bill despite failing earlier this month to pass an improved version of the original expansion bill that was never sent to Quinn.</p><p>Lang said he remains hopeful that Quinn, who has laid out a framework for the kind of gambling bill he might accept, will sit down and negotiate with lawmakers.</p><p>"My door is open, my phone rings, I'm prepared to meet, I'm prepared to do it right," he said.</p><p>Lavin said the new study gives the sides a place to start in negotiations.</p><p>"We need to look at the whole picture of what are the real numbers," he said.</p></p> Tue, 22 Nov 2011 13:50:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-report-state-wont-get-much-money-gambling-expansion-94269 Chicago City Council backs casino expansion http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-backs-casino-expansion-91710 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20100909_hclauss_716352_City_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago City Council is backing a casino and wants the additional revenue to pump money into local rickety infrastructure.</p><p>The Black and Hispanic Caucuses successfully pushed a measure through the full City Council on Wednesday. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an ardent supporter of gaming expansion, said the casino revenue would go toward renovating up to 25 schools, rebuilding CTA “L” tracks and replacing miles of leaky city water mains.</p><p>Alderman Will Burns of the 4<sup>th</sup> Ward says council members want the money for repairs.</p><p>“Right now, there’s a real question about whether there’s going to be the resources available to fix the infrastructure that people depend on us to repair. And we need the revenue. That’s the bottom line. I think that’s why the resolution earned the support it did today,” Burns said.</p><p>The City Council resolution is not binding, but aldermen say they hope the vote will bolster Emanuel’s position.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has not signed a bill that would bring a casino to Chicago.</p></p> Thu, 08 Sep 2011 20:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-city-council-backs-casino-expansion-91710 Illinois casino expansion may be a gamble of its own http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/illinois-casino-expansion-may-be-gamble-its-own-91179 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/391616108_76884105b5_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483672-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/casino.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>Illinois opened its first casino in 20 years last month. It was so popular, it caused a major traffic jam on the Tri-State Tollway. So far, the Des Plaines Rivers Casino rakes in enough money to put it on track for a successful year; but that does not mean Illinois can handle more gambling. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> spoke to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/content-categories/91018" target="_blank">Kristen McQueary,</a> reporter for WBEZ and the <a href="http://www.chicagonewscoop.org/" target="_blank">Chicago News Cooperative</a>, who looked at the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/observers-question-expanded-gambling-illinois-91160" target="_blank">big picture</a> for casino expansion.</p><p><em>Music Button: Groove Armada, "Pre 63", from the CD Vertigo, (Jive Electro)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 14:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/illinois-casino-expansion-may-be-gamble-its-own-91179 Emanuel: Quinn will come around on Chicago casino http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-quinn-will-come-around-chicago-casino-89169 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-14/rahm.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel suggested on Thursday he expects Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to sign legislation that would bring a casino to Chicago.</p><p>Emanuel lobbied lawmakers to pass the monster gaming bill that would allow for five new casinos, including one in the city.</p><p>"It's not that I came into the casino [debate] as an enthusiast," Emanuel told reporters.</p><p>Rather, Emanuel said the city needs the revenue and the jobs, and doesn't want Chicagoans' cash going to casinos in Indiana.</p><p>"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.</p><p>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.</p><p>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."</p></p> Thu, 14 Jul 2011 20:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-quinn-will-come-around-chicago-casino-89169 Gambling bill with Chicago casino put on hold http://www.wbez.org/story/gambling-bill-chicago-casino-put-hold-88407 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-27/Cullerton.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicagoans might not know until October if the city will get a casino. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is currently looking over the gambling bill, but it's not officially available to sign.</p><p>Senate President John Cullerton explained on Monday why he's using a parliamentary procedure to hold the bill.</p><p>"He's obviously expressed concerns publicly on some of the provisions in the bill. So we're taking the time to go over the bill with the governor to make sure if there's any changes that he wants, that he can make those through a trailer bill," Cullerton said.</p><p>Cullerton says a trailer bill will give the governor more flexibility. In other words, it'll make it less likely that Quinn would veto it and send it back for a time-consuming rewrite. Gambling supporters hope adjustments can be made so Quinn will sign the legislation this fall.</p></p> Tue, 28 Jun 2011 20:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gambling-bill-chicago-casino-put-hold-88407 Waiting game continues on Chicago casino bill http://www.wbez.org/story/waiting-game-continues-chicago-casino-bill-88091 <p><p>The wait continues over the future of a bill that would allow a casino to be built in Chicago.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Monday that he still has more studying to do before he knows where he stands on the gambling package. State lawmakers passed legislation last month that would bring slot machines and five new casinos to Illinois.</p><p>Quinn told reporters Monday that he met with the sponsors of the bill a week ago and had a "robust" discussion. Now he said he wants to hear from people in who don't favor the legislation.</p><p>"I want to hear from all sides," he said. "I think that it's important that everybody has a voice, and they can't say after a decision is made that they weren't heard."</p><p>The governor has previously spoken out against the bill, calling it "bloated." Meanwhile, Chicago's new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is pushing for the package.</p></p> Tue, 21 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/waiting-game-continues-chicago-casino-bill-88091 Quinn, Emanuel continue talks on gambling bill http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-emanuel-continue-talks-gambling-bill-87974 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/slot2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn continue to hash out details on a compromise gambling bill. In a press conference Thursday, Mayor Emanuel said he's had good conversations with the governor concerning a Chicago casino.</p><p>Emanuel said the governor knows where he stands, and that he wants the Chicago casino for jobs and revenue.</p><p>Emanuel said, "I'm going to use that revenue to invest in Chicago's future. Our roads, our bridges, our broadband, our schools construction, our mass transit. That will keep us economically competitive."</p><p>Governor Quinn says he remains open-minded to a Chicago casino. But he still isn't happy with the rest of the bill, which he calls bloated.</p><p>In a separate news conference Thursday, Quinn said he hasn't decided whether the current bill deserves his veto or his signature.</p><p>"We're taking the 400-page bill and dissecting it page by page - will continue to do that," Quinn said.</p><p>The governor said he'll continue meeting with the bill's advocates and critics, so he can hear everyone out.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 17 Jun 2011 22:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-emanuel-continue-talks-gambling-bill-87974 Gaming board head blasts Ill. gambling expansion http://www.wbez.org/story/gaming-board-head-blasts-ill-gambling-expansion-87901 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-15/107667878.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The top Illinois gambling regulator is criticizing legislation to expand wagering as poorly written and difficult to enforce.</p><p>Aaron Jaffe (JAF'-fee) is chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. He said at a public meeting Tuesday that the board's staff would have to be doubled to enforce&nbsp; laws governing five new casinos, slot machines at horseracing tracks and other provisions in the bill awaiting action by Gov. Pat Quinn.&nbsp;</p><p>Jaffe says, "You can't make perfume out of a pile of garbage."&nbsp;</p><p>He says the measure would usurp regulatory power from the Gaming Board and make blur lines of jurisdiction with other enforcers. He says expansion would&nbsp; "cannibalize" existing casino business.&nbsp;</p><p>Quinn has called the bill "top heavy" but signaled he might accept a casino in Chicago.</p></p> Wed, 15 Jun 2011 20:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gaming-board-head-blasts-ill-gambling-expansion-87901 Congressional districting, casino bills await Quinn's signature http://www.wbez.org/story/congressional-districting-casino-bills-await-quinns-signature-87670 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/Quinn Bio Presser.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Two major bills are still awaiting Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's signature. At a press conference Thursday, Quinn said he still hasn't received a bill that would authorize a casino in Chicago. &nbsp;<br> <br> "We know what's in the bill - it's about 400 pages long. As I said last week we're going to put everything in that bill under a microscope. And I invite everyone with an opinion pro or con to send it on," Quinn said.<br> <br> The other bill is for a new map of Congressional districts in Illinois. The map seems to favor Democrats, and Republicans are vowing to sue if Quinn signs off on the bill.</p><p>Quinn said he received the re-map bill on Wednesday and plans to study it very carefully over the next few days. The governor has 60 days to sign or veto a bill once it reaches his desk.</p></p> Fri, 10 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/congressional-districting-casino-bills-await-quinns-signature-87670