Illinois Senate passes gambling bill with Chicago casino

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A bill that would allow five new casinos, including one in Chicago, plus betting games at horse-racing tracks, Midway and O’Hare airports was approved by the Illinois State Senate Wednesday.

This comes after two previous gaming bills were vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

State Sen. Terry Link, who sponsored the bill, says dozens of changes — 28 of them, suggested by the gaming board — were made.

“I think we came a lot closer to exactly what the governor wanted. We made this bill as safe and sound as humanly possible, and the gaming board had their input on all of this,” Link said.

For example, the controversial proposal to allow internet gambling was taken out, and there are new provisions that ban campaign contributions from casino owners.

Still, for some, it’s just not enough.

“I just think it’s ethically challenged to have gaming to try to offset budgetary deficits,” said State Sen. Jacqueline Collins.

Collins is also concerned about making casinos more accessible to gambling addicts.

Link says it all boils down to personal responsibility.

“These are people over 21-years-old that will be making that decision if they want to gamble or not. So if they want to make that decision to gamble, that’s their decision to do,” he said.

Revenue from the casinos will first be used to pay off some of the city’s debt. That’s expected to take about three years. After that, all profit will be funneled into an education fund.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a YouTube video Wednesday showing state-of-the-art facilities, including computer labs and libraries, that he’d like to see built in Chicago using money gained from gaming.

“I’m driven by the face that a Chicago casino is the only casino in this state that will be totally dedicated for our children. All the proceeds to the city will go to building 21st century schools,” he said.

After the Senate passed the gambling bill, Emanuel released this statement:

“I applaud the Illinois Senate for taking action on the gaming bill by passing the bipartisan bill today. ┬áSpecifically I want to thank Senator Terry Link and Senate President John Cullerton for working to strengthen the bill. ┬áThis important legislation will provide needed resources to Chicago Public Schools to improve the lives of thousands of Chicago students. I urge the House to take swift action on the gaming bill.”

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  • spoolie

    Here the lies begin. Another proceeds to fund schools just like the lottery which is a joke. And personal responsibility for gambling addicts? Lets use that same reasoning of choice for conceled carry and medical marijuana.

  • retiredinaz1

    Same old – sam old! The Illinois State Lottery was made to save the Education woes….did no such thing! And now this is suppose to help Chicago Public Schools> More like stuffing Rahm's pockets!

  • Casey

    Sen. Collins has a lot of nerve. Part of the reason we are in this mess is due to the area she represents is a lawless shooting gallery – raising the costs of government for all the crime committed in her district, as well as the large majority of her (abled bodied) constituents being on public assistance (go to the Sav-A-Lot in her area and paying for groceries with cash is foreign concept).

    Look for Rahm to bring Daley back to run this – with his background on the the Parking Meters, Skyway sale, Red light cameras, the Parking lots sale, etc., Daley is expert on fleecing Chicagoans.

    Or Rahm may put the designated minority flavor of the month in charge, like Terry Peterson or Avis LaValle, to keep the ones who will lose the most money quiet.

    Where are the black pastors on this issue ? Oh, they are busy complaining about free water.

  • Medicinal Cannabis

    They can't pass a bill to help cancer patients. But they'll put a slot machine in your living room to enable your gambling problems.

  • keeping real

    and will also say it creates jobs!!! but at min. wage!!! good luck on living on that wages, where is our tax money going cause roads sux as well!!! money hungry people!!!

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