WBEZ | Casinos http://www.wbez.org/tags/casinos Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Indiana lawmakers propose casino tax cut http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-lawmakers-propose-casino-tax-cut-105046 <p><p>Indiana lawmakers are proposing to cut riverboat casino taxes and allow the floating gambling halls to move onto land to help them face growing competition from neighboring states.</p><p>A state Senate committee is expected to take up a bill this week overhauling casino taxes, although estimates aren&#39;t available on how much money might be involved.</p><p>The debate comes as Indiana is projecting its casino tax revenue will drop 15 percent over the next three years from what was collected last year.</p><p>Republican Sen. Phil Boots of Crawfordsville says changes are needed to keep Indiana&#39;s ten riverboat casinos &quot;in the game.&quot; But many state lawmakers are leery of supporting steps perceived as allowing an expansion of gambling.</p><p>New casinos in Ohio, Michigan and&nbsp;Illinois&nbsp;are providing competition for Indiana&#39;s casinos.</p></p> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/indiana-lawmakers-propose-casino-tax-cut-105046 Hammond mayor wants two inland casinos http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-wants-two-inland-casinos-104062 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cards.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HAMMOND, Ind. &mdash; A northwestern Indiana mayor says he&#39;ll support moving one of the Lake Michigan riverboat casinos to an on-land location as long as his city gets a second casino.</p><p>Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said the proposal to move Gary&#39;s Majestic Star casino to a spot along Interstate 80/94 would hurt profits at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, so he would want his city to also have a casino near the highway.</p><p>Gary officials have pushed for several years for the state Legislature to approve an inland casino to boost its business.</p><p>McDermott tells <a href="http://bit.ly/V64HTh" target="_blank">The Times of Munster</a> that two land-based casinos would help Indiana better compete against proposed new casinos in Illinois.</p><p>State Rep. Charlie Brown of Gary calls McDermott&#39;s proposal an attempt to block a casino change for Gary.</p></p> Wed, 28 Nov 2012 09:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hammond-mayor-wants-two-inland-casinos-104062 Illinois lawmakers back on track to expand gambling across the state http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmakers-back-track-expand-gambling-across-state-98510 <p><p>The debate over a Chicago casino and adding more gambling across the state could be starting up again. Some state lawmakers and the governor say a gambling bill could be passed this year, possibly even this session.</p><p>Illinois lawmakers passed a measure last year that would expand gambling across the state with five new casinos, including one in Chicago, slot machines at the airports and race tracks, and more. Gov. Pat Quinn has since criticized that bill, so it's still sitting in the state senate.</p><p>State Rep. Lou Lang is a major supporter of additional gambling. He said he'll be working to make sure some level of the comprehensive bill gets passed, and soon - with or without the governor's approval.</p><p>"This is the same governor who has approved buying lottery tickets at home on your computer. So 10-13 million Illinoisians apparently can gamble on their computer at home, but a few people can't go to a race track and gamble where they're already gambling? I think that's a very difficult stretch," Lang said.</p><p>There are a few different ways lawmakers could see gambling legislation this session. The general assembly could send the bill they already passed to the governor's desk for a sure veto, and then try and override that veto. They are always able to write and introduce new legislation, but Lang said that would take longer than he'd like.</p><p>Lang said he prefers trying to pass a bill that failed once, but doesn't include slots at the airports. Lang said the bill would include the five casinos from the original bill. He said it didn't pass the House originally because of low attendance.</p><p>Gov. Quinn said Tuesday five casinos is his limit. He's open to meeting about legislation, but there will be some restrictions.</p><p>"Some of the bills that have been bandied about in the past haven't had that kind of strong oversight. We cannot have expanded gambling in Illinois without watchdogs there for the public," Quinn said.</p><p>Passage of the newer House bill would please Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel has endorsed plans for a Chicago casino. Lang says the mayor has been calling lawmakers down in Springfield to make sure that gets done.</p><p><strong>Correction</strong>: The original version of this story said the latest House bill would not add more slot machines at race tracks. The bill actually does include slots at race tracks, but does not allow slots at O'Hare Airport, Midway Airport or the fairgrounds in Springfield.</p></p> Tue, 24 Apr 2012 09:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmakers-back-track-expand-gambling-across-state-98510 It’s complicated between Gary and Chicago http://www.wbez.org/story/it%E2%80%99s-complicated-between-gary-and-chicago-96525 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-17/RS4959_P1010212-scr.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span id="internal-source-marker_0.03584058228355075">It’s been a big week for the Gary Chicago International Airport.</span> Commercial flights began again earlier this week with Allegiant Air taking off from Gary’s lakefront airport to the sunny skies of Orlando, Florida. It marked the first time in nearly four years a commercial flight took off from the Gary airport. The Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air plans to fly out of Gary twice a week.</p><p>But Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, who took off in early January, wants more for her fledgling airport. She’s looking at perhaps privatizing the airport as one option or bringing in the Indianapolis Airport Authority to lend a hand in the long-struggling, underutilized airport, especially since it’s bidding on being the Chicago area’s third major airport.</p><p>"We’re exploring all options that will assist us in the expansion of the Gary airport," Freeman-Wilson told WBEZ this week.</p><p>Bring in another suitor, as in the Indianapolis Airport Authority, could alter the longstanding agreement between Chicago and Gary as it relates to the Gary airport. In 1995, then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley hatched a plan to keep then Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar and state Republicans from seizing control of O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. By teaming up with the Gary Regional Airport, Chicago could keep control of O’Hare and Midway. For its sake, Gary airport officials would receive about $3 million a year from Chicago, some equipment and aviation expertise.</p><p>Chicago’s Department of Aviation has assisted Gary with its expansion efforts, including its ongoing $153 million project to extend Gary’s main runway. Airport officials contend by extending the runway it will be able accommodate larger jets.</p><p>The Federal Aviation Administration has given Gary a deadline of late 2013 to have the project complete. The project has had some starts and stops, with negotiations between the Gary airport and nearby railroad companies to reroute tracks being troublesome. The airport needs to reroute a set of tracks on the west side of the airport in order to remove a train embankment that’s in the way of the main runways expansion.</p><p>But any delay to the project could jeopardize federal funding.</p><p>But in the midst of this all-important expansion, Freeman-Wilson is contemplating this change in the Gary airport’s authority. One reason for this was to gain leverage with Indiana lawmakers so that they might approve a land-based casino in Gary. In January, Freeman-Wilson said discussions with Chicago had started, but a spokeswoman in the city’s Department of Aviation said she didn’t know anything about it. Freeman-Wilson continued this week in saying that negotiations with Chicago are ongoing.</p><p>"We continue our discussions with Commissioner (Rosemarie) Andolino and to try to see how that relationship can be leverage. We are certainly open to discussions with the Indianapolis Airport Authority. We are also looking at our options as it relates to privatization," she said.</p><p>But as of Friday, Chicago’s Department of Aviation had no knowledge of this development.</p><p>"We're not aware of any plans Mayor Freeman-Wilson may have related to the future of the Gary compact, but we're looking forward to working with her and her administration," Tammy Chase, Deputy Commissioner and spokeswoman with the Chicago Department of Aviation told WBEZ. "Chicago has historically enjoyed a great relationship with Gary and its leaders, and we're definitely supportive of the airport and its success."</p><p>Chase says Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino plans to meet soon with Karen Freeman-Wilson, although a specific date was not given.</p><p>“We'll be meeting with her very soon to discuss her vision and goals for Gary and the airport,” Chase said.</p><p>As of today, any effort to bring in the Indianapolis Aviation Authority to help run the Gary airport wouldn’t be tied to a land-based casino. Indiana State Sen. Earline Rodgers, D-Gary, who pushed for a land-based casino for Gary, says that effort is all but dead in this legislative session, which wraps up in early March.</p></p> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 22:33:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/it%E2%80%99s-complicated-between-gary-and-chicago-96525 New Illinois Gaming Board numbers presenting problems for expansionists http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-11/new-illinois-gaming-board-numbers-presenting-problems-expansionists-9545 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-11/120105_gambling_online_605_ap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WBEZ’s Kristen McQueary discussed the ripple effect of Illinois' pension problem, the state's recent downgrade of its credit rating and the latest on a report from the <a href="http://www.gambling-law-us.com/State-Laws/Illinois/gaming/" target="_blank">Illinois Gaming Board </a>and explained what the numbers could mean for gambling expansion in Chicago and Illinois.</p></p> Wed, 11 Jan 2012 15:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-11/new-illinois-gaming-board-numbers-presenting-problems-expansionists-9545 Labor, casinos to dominate Illinois veto session http://www.wbez.org/content/labor-casinos-dominate-illinois-veto-session <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/poker_Flickr_Viri G.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-25/poker_Flickr_Viri G.jpg" style="margin-bottom: 15px; margin-right: 15px; float: left; width: 375px; height: 179px;" title="(Flickr/Viri G.)"></p><p>Fearing further setbacks to their negotiated contracts, members of organized labor are heading into the fall veto session this week with raised fists.</p><p>Their angst is shared by dozens of special interest groups including retirees, casino operators and state vendors competing for scarce revenue in what is expected to be a fast-paced reunion of the House and Senate starting today. The General Assembly isn’t scheduled to meet again until January.</p><p>Sponsors of a casino bill say they are introducing a new version after Gov. Pat Quinn threatened to veto the bill they sent him in May authorizing five new casinos and slots at horseracing tracks, along with slots at airports and a racing venue at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.</p><p>Utility giants ComEd and Ameren have spent months lobbying lawmakers and doling out campaign checks to convince them to override Quinn’s veto of a bill that would raise electric rates in exchange for new infrastructure.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>And workers representing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees who didn’t get promised pay raises in July are staging a demonstration Wednesday inside the Capitol.</p><p>They’re facing a quadruple whammy from Quinn and the legislature. Lawmakers are considering legislation that would require unionized workers to pay more into their retirement accounts and require retired employees to pay more for health insurance—coverage they now receive at little or no cost. The General Assembly also didn’t authorize enough spending in May to honor pay raises that were supposed to start in July, followed by two more pay increases in January and February. And state employees face the possible closure of seven state facilities, which could mean major job losses.</p><p>The grim forecast is giving AFSCME a widened vocabulary lately when describing Quinn, whom the group supported during his re-election campaign last year. Quinn won AFSCME’s endorsement after he promised he would not lay off state workers or close state buildings.</p><p>But after months of demonstrations in neighboring Wisconsin, Illinois’ labor movement finds itself in a similar face-off, regularly comparing Quinn to Gov. Scott Walker, who signed a bill in March stripping Wisconsin public employees of certain collective bargaining rights as a way to balance that state’s budget. Quinn faces $3 billion in unpaid bills and a dangerously under-funded pension system.</p><p>“We don’t give an inch to Quinn’s legal argument that he should be able to void collective bargaining agreements now or anytime in the future, just because he finds it inconvenient or the General Assembly didn’t do its job,” said Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME Council 31.</p><p>Lindall said his organization will lobby lawmakers during the veto session for a supplemental appropriation of about $300 million to keep the facilities open that Quinn announced last month he would shutter. Three mental health centers—Singer in Rockford, Chester in southern Illinois and Tinley Park Mental Health Center—are slated for closure, along with a youth prison in Murphysboro, Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, and two centers for the developmentally disabled in Jacksonville and Jack Mabley in Dixon.</p><p>The money, union members say, could come from a pot of “savings” Quinn created this summer by using his veto pen to reduce spending in certain programs, including Medicaid. Some lawmakers, however, say that money must be spent on the state’s overdue bills.</p><p>Even if lawmakers move forward on casino expansion—a vote on a new bill that would add more regulatory oversight is expected sometime during the session—money to the state wouldn’t start flowing for at least a year. The legislation suffered a serious blow last week when Quinn announced he could not support a key piece of the bill allowing horseracing tracks to install slot machines.</p><p>Publicly, supporters of the bill, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said they would continue working on a compromise. Privately, they grumbled that the governor’s action essentially killed the bill.</p><p>Lawmakers also will be asked to override Quinn’s veto of a bill pushed by ComEd and downstate power provider Ameren that will raise consumer utility rates to pay for a system-wide upgrade. Without it, the companies say customers will face more power outages due to the outdated infrastructure.&nbsp; The Senate Executive Committee overwhelmingly passed the bill Monday afternoon, even though Quinn has lambasted it repeatedly as anti-consumer.</p><p>In the meantime, state Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) who leads a budget committee in the Senate said he will continue to look during veto session at the implementation of automatic transfers out, a longstanding practice in Illinois budgeting that allows certain sacred cows to get funded each year, without a thorough review. In all, automatic transfers support about $1 billion in programs.</p><p>“Every program needs to be reviewed for their performance,” he said. “Right now, they are not going through that process. It’s a big problem.”</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/labor-casinos-dominate-illinois-veto-session Illinois casino bill has Indiana nervous http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-casino-bill-has-indiana-nervous-93262 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-18/P1000160.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s announcement that he supports a Chicago casino and one in the south suburbs has some politicos in Northwest Indiana worried. That’s because Northwest Indiana’s five floating casinos on Lake Michigan depend heavily on customers from Illinois.</p><p>Gary Mayor Rudy Clay says one way to keep Illinois gamblers crossing the border is to build land-based casinos.</p><p>“We should have gone land-based long time ago. It should have been land-based the first time. We never should have been on the water,” Clay told WBEZ Tuesday. “Indiana has got to come into the 21st century and start building land-based casinos.”</p><p>Gary’s lakefront is home to two casinos, the Majestic Star I and II.</p><p>Clay’s been pushing Indiana lawmakers to approve land-based casinos for the last several years but each time, lawmakers decline passage.</p><p>One of the reasons may be that not all Northwest Indiana politicians are on board with land-based casinos.</p><p>For example, the mayor of Hammond, Thomas McDermott Jr., has come out opposed to land-based casinos, primarily because his city’s casino, Horseshoe, has invested $500,000 in recent years to upgrade its property on Lake Michigan.</p><p>Nonetheless, Clay, who will leave office in January, says building land-casinos is the only way to stay competitive with a casino built in Chicago, one built in a south suburb like Harvey, or both.</p><p>“Chicago is going to take some revenues out of Indiana. I can’t blame the governor of Illinois. He’s trying to bring money to Illinois,” Clay said. “We should be trying to bring money to Indiana.”</p><p>Clay says a land-based casino provides an experience that's different from that of a floating casino.</p><p>“On a land-based casino, you feel like you’re in Las Vegas. But a riverboat is what it is: It’s a boat. You don’t feel the Las Vegas-aura there,” Clay says. “It makes economic sense. It means more money for the state of Indiana and more people coming out of Illinois.”</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has said he’s open to the idea of land-based casinos.</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he supports a scaled-back version of a casino bill Illinois lawmakers proposed to him.</p><p>Quinn supports five new casinos in and around Chicago but opposes slot machines at area airports, racetracks and the Illinois State Fairgrounds.</p></p> Tue, 18 Oct 2011 23:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-casino-bill-has-indiana-nervous-93262 Daily Rehearsal: Rhys Darby of 'Flight of the Conchords' lands in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-27/daily-rehearsal-rhys-darby-flight-conchords-lands-chicago-89700 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/flight of theconchords_aphbo_Craig Blankenhorn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Pornography </em>opens this weekend from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/shows/shows_main.html">Steep</a></strong></span></span>, and before you get all hot and bothered, it's not really all about that. It's more about a terrorist attack in the U.K. in 2005. The cast features both the&nbsp;2010 and 2011 winners of the Jeff Award for Best Actress, Kendra Thulin&nbsp;and Caroline Neff.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/side man.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 223px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. KaTet Theater has <a href="http://katettheatre.org/"><em>Side Man</em></a>&nbsp;opening this weekend</strong></span></span>, about Clifford, who recalls his New York City family and their love of jazz over a period of 30 years. You might remember <em>Side Man</em>; it won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play. Check out <a href="http://katettheatre.org/2011/07/">their blog</a> for remarks from several of the actors and producers over the weeks of rehearsal, and their emotional connection to the piece.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Things look better for <a href="http://www.actone.com/">Act One Studios</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;than they have recently; their website, in a flurry of fireworks and with the phrase "An Angel Arrived", has annoucned that they've gotten some new funds and free rent, which should alleviate some of their debt issues. The acting studio told <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/07/26/no-last-act-yet-for-act-one-studios">the Reader</a> that “It's really embarrassing" but that they're making it work.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4.&nbsp;When I say "casino" you probably don't say "high-class entertainment."</strong></span></span> But&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/ct-ent-0727-focus-casinos-20110726,0,6038180.column?page=1&amp;track=rss" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Chris Jones looks at&nbsp;</a>casinos around the country and what kind of shows they brought with them, from Celine Dion to Cirque du Solei. "Regardless, don't expect somebody to build the biggest theater in Chicago just for Dion, and hope only for warm bodies headed for the casino," says Jones.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/flight of theconchords_aphbo_Craig Blankenhorn.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="Rhys Darby, left, in Flight of the Conchords (AP-HBO/Craig Blankenhorn)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;Like the Flight of the Conchords? Of course you do!</strong></span></span> Rhys Darby, who played manager Murray on the HBO show of the same name, was at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.improv.com/Search/?searchTerm=rhys" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Improv this weekend</a>&nbsp;for a jam-packed set of shows (5). Jenna Marotta of&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/14866445/live-review-rhys-darby-at-the-improv" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">TimeOut says</a>&nbsp;of Darby's performance, "Basically, Darby is a good comedian to go see with your mom. I did." Darby was also considered one of the potential Steve Carell replacements for The Office, and at least a few feel that his New Zealand touch would have been a welcome homage to Ricky Gervais' British version.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-27/daily-rehearsal-rhys-darby-flight-conchords-lands-chicago-89700 So what would the Chicago-area casino map look like if Illinois Senate Bill 744 becomes law? http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-07/so-what-would-chicago-area-casino-map-look-if-illinois-senate-bill-74 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-06/Casino Slot Machines_Getty_Christopher Furlong.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-06/Blackjack Table_Getty_Joe Raedle.jpg" style="width: 495px; height: 330px;" title="(Getty/Joe Raedle)"></p><p>As Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn considers whether to sign or veto a new bill that would expand gambling facilities in the state, we wanted to see what the Chicago-area casino gaming picture would look like if the bill became law.</p><p>If you've been following along, you know that Senate Bill 744 aims to allow the creation of:</p><p>1) A new Chicago casino.&nbsp; This is the big one and it includes a provision that allows for the creation of the Chicago Casino Development Authority, which would market and oversee a casino within the city limits of Chicago.</p><p>2) Four new riverboat casinos in northern and central Illinois, to be located variously in Danville, Park City, Rockford, and in a community in Cook County's southern suburbs.</p><p>3) Electronic gaming machines at Illinois horse racing facilities.</p><p>4) Electronic gaming machines at Chicago's passenger airports (O'Hare and Midway).</p><p>5) Electronic gaming machines at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL.</p><p>6) Expanded gaming positions at existing riverboat casinos, increasing the current limit of 1,200 positions to a maximum of 2,000.</p><p>So what's that add up to in the Chicago area?&nbsp;</p><p>If all goes according to plan, 21 gaming facilities would be within 90 minutes of downtown Chicago.&nbsp; That includes all existing casinos, new riverboats, the Chicago casino, the slot machines at racetracks and airports, as well as casinos in Milwaukee, Northwest Indiana and New Buffalo.</p><p>Here's a look at current, future and proposed gaming facilities within the greater-Chicago region.&nbsp;</p><p>Click on the map below to move around the region - and you can click on the individual markers to find out more about each facility.</p> <object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" width="600" height="490" id="umapper_embed"> <param name="FlashVars" value="kmlPath=http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/maps/kml/102886.kml"/> <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"/> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"/> <param name="movie" value="http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/templates/swf/embed.swf"/> <param name="quality" value="high"/> <embed src="http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/templates/swf/embed.swf" FlashVars="kmlPath=http://umapper.s3.amazonaws.com/maps/kml/102886.kml" allowScriptAccess="always" allowFullScreen="true" quality="high" width="600" height="490" name="umapper_embed" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer"/> </object></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-06-07/so-what-would-chicago-area-casino-map-look-if-illinois-senate-bill-74 Analysis: Why Quinn may veto gambling expansion bill http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/2011-06-02/analysis-why-quinn-may-veto-gambling-expansion-bill-87280 <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 style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-01/Gov Pat Quinn_Getty_Frank Polich.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 341px;" title="(Getty/Frank Polich)"></p><p>What's Gov. Pat Quinn's next move?</p><p>That's the question political oddsmakers are debating now that Illinois lawmakers have doubled down on a major gambling expansion bill.</p><p>Despite his concerns about the measure, does Quinn fold and join the forces in favor of tripling the number of gaming positions in the state? &nbsp;Or does he go-for-broke and reject the proposal outright? &nbsp;His comments in recent days have provided mixed signals on both fronts.</p><p>Quinn stopped well short of promising any specific action on the measure during a lengthy exchange with reporters at the State Capitol building in Springfield on Wednesday, but he also went out of his way to reiterate his dissatisfaction with the scope of the bill and the forces that produced it.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-01/Casino Slot Machines_Getty_Ethan Miller.jpg" style="width: 363px; height: 256px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="">The measure would allow five additional casinos to be established in Illinois, including one in Chicago - long considered a 'holy grail' for both the gaming and convention industries in Illinois.</p><p>In addition, it would allow Illinois' existing casinos to expand their gaming positions and, for the first time, would allow slot machines at horse racing tracks and Chicago airports.</p><p>"Any person with common sense would say that's excessive," Quinn said on Wednesday. "Illinois is not for the gamblers.&nbsp; It's for the people.&nbsp; And my job is to make sure the people come first."</p><p>Quinn vowed to put each page of the legislation "under a microscope" and said if bills are passed that aren't in the public's interest, it's his job to step in.</p><p>"I'm here to stop them, and if the legislature doesn't do it, I will," Quinn insisted.</p><p>Now, that could simply be 'tough talk' before he eventually signs the bill as is. &nbsp;If so, it wouldn't be the first time that the incumbent governor signed on to a proposal after previously voicing opposition to it. &nbsp;And certainly, Quinn's rhetoric has softened somewhat in the past 72 hours. &nbsp;</p><p>Nevertheless, he strongly reiterated concerns on Wednesday that the measure as currently written is too heavily tilted toward the gaming industry and special interests for his liking.</p><p><strong>'Never let a serious crisis go to waste'</strong></p><p>Over the years, the chief champion of gaming interests in the General Assembly has been State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie). &nbsp;As longtime watchers of Springfield know, proposals to expand gambling in Illinois are&nbsp;<a href="http://www.google.com/#q=history+gambling+expansion+bills+in+Illinois&amp;hl=en&amp;prmd=ivnscum&amp;tbs=tl:1&amp;tbo=u&amp;ei=YJfmTfv4IYf40gGTs9D7Cg&amp;sa=X&amp;oi=timeline_result&amp;ct=title&amp;resnum=16&amp;ved=0CIYBEOcCMA8&amp;bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&amp;fp=af48742de8854925&amp;biw=1280&amp;bih=831" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">nothing new for Lang or the General Assembly</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/general assembly.png" style="width: 332px; height: 332px; float: right; margin: 7px;" title="(File/WBEZ)"></p><p>But where previous efforts have failed to attract enough support from lawmakers, this one had both the timing and the scale to make it more appealing - a little something for everyone, as they say. &nbsp;And it also had the active backing of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.</p><p>It was Emanuel who&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeA_kHHLow" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">once famously said</a>, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," and advocates of the bill used the state's worsening fiscal crisis as opportunity to highlight the cash such a proposal could generate for the state:&nbsp;$1.5 billion in one-time revenues, and an additional $500 million in annual revenues.</p><p>That's a hard payout to walk away from these days, even for lawmakers who've been opposed to gambling expansion in the past.</p><p>With rising operating costs and as much as $8 billion dollars in unpaid debt, the state desperately needs solutions for its fiscal woes - and the options are limited.</p><p>The General Assembly has already approved a controversial increase in the state's personal and corporate income tax rate; the Illinois Senate recently rejected Quinn's borrowing proposal; and Quinn and other lawmakers have shown an unwillingness thus far to sign on to deeper cuts to the state's budget.</p><p>So even though Quinn finds elements of this legislation unpalatable and excessive, he knows he doesn't have many other revenue options available to him.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Enter: An amendatory veto.</strong></p><p>That suggests an outright veto of the proposal may be too big of a gamble for Quinn. &nbsp;But reading between the lines of his news conference with reporters on Wednesday, it appears he may be strongly considering something else: an amendatory veto.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">The Illinois constitution grants the governor four different kinds of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con4.htm" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">veto powers</a>, far more than the President of the United States.&nbsp;Those options include:</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">1) A total veto - rejecting the entire bill outright.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">2) An amendatory veto - which allows the governor to suggest changes to the text of the bill.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">3) A line item veto - which allows a governor to strike a specific appropriation in a spending bill.</p><p style="margin: 0.6em 0px 1.2em; padding: 0px;">4) A reduction veto - which allows a governor to reduce the amount appropriated in a spending bill.</p><p>An amendatory veto would allow Quinn to scale down aspects of the bill while preserving elements of the measure that he finds least objectionable - and most helpful from a revenue standpoint.&nbsp;</p><p>In the past, Quinn hasn't ruled out a Chicago casino, so perhaps an amendatory veto might preserve that component, while reducing the overall number of new casinos from five.&nbsp; Or maybe he'll curb the expansion of slot machines to Chicago airports.&nbsp; Or all of the above.</p><p>Making such a move doesn't come without risks, of course, but Quinn's rhetoric suggests it's something he's strongly considering.</p><p>At one point during the news conference on Wednesday, Quinn launched into his familiar reformer-mode by recalling the veto powers available to the governor, noting that twice before, the citizens of Illinois have reaffirmed their support for those powers through public referenda.&nbsp;</p><p>"That's something the public wants the governor to have," he said.&nbsp; "And sometimes you have to use that."</p></p> Thu, 02 Jun 2011 10:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/best-game-town/2011-06-02/analysis-why-quinn-may-veto-gambling-expansion-bill-87280