SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) – Gambling expansion, which supporters say could bring more than a billion dollars a year, is one thing that didn’t happen in the just concluded Illinois General Assembly. The House sponsor, State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), says he will try again in the spring.

The bill Lang did not call for a House vote, though it did pass the Senate, would have added a land-based casino in Chicago , four more riverboat casinos and slot machines at the state’s horse tracks and at the two Chicago airports. Lang says a primary motivation for him was to help the racing industry.

Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) sponsored the bill in the Senate.

“I’m just extremely disappointed,” Link said. “We had the votes. We had the votes in the House, we had the votes over here for concurrence and we should be talking today about how this bill is on the Governor’s desk and when it’s going to be signed.”

But Lang says one important vote wasn’t in order – the governor’s. And it was too late to try for an override in case Gov. Pat Quinn did veto it.

“I had signals that the bill was going to be vetoed,” Lang said.  “It is not ever my intention to string members out on this floor and make them vote for controversial issues for no purpose.”

Lang wouldn’t describe the signals he says he received that Quinn would not sign the bill.

“It’s still the same excellent idea it’s been for the last 20 years,” Lang said. “And I believe strongly that sometime in the not too distant future, we will accomplish this goal.”

Senator Link said he too would work on getting the expansion passed this session.

Reported by: Brian Seay

Copyright Illinois Radio Network


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