Quinn OK with New Casinos, But Not Other Slot Machine Locations
(With additional Reporting by The Associated Press)
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he can accept new casinos in Danville, Chicago and other cities. But he is drawing the line at allowing slot machines at racetracks, airports and other locations.
At a news conference Monday morning, the governor discussed his objections to a gambling bill (Senate Bill 744) passed by lawmakers, but not yet sent to him.
Quinn laid out a framework for gambling expansion that includes five new casinos that the legislation calls for, including Chicago, Danville, Rockford and two suburban locations. But he said he can't accept allowing slot machines racetracks, Chicago's two airports and other locations.
"I don't think anybody in Illinois wants 14 new gambling locations --- including the state fair, including our airports," Quinn told reporters. "When people get off a plane from another country or another state, the first thing they see are armed guards next to casinos? I don't think so."
Quinn also wants both suburban locations to be decided by the Illinois Gaming Board --- rejecting the Park City location named in the gambling bill for a new casino in Lake County. Quinn said cities should compete to host a new casino in the western suburbs, as well as another one in southern Cook County.
In addition, the Governor wants to change the rules for communities that don't want to host legal video gaming. Quinn said that with the expansion of gaming in other areas, communities should be able to choose or reject video gaming on an "opt-in," instead of an "opt-out" basis.
Quinn said the gaming bill passed by lawmakers has too many tax breaks and protections for casino owners, and fails to provide sufficient tax revenue for Illinois' education and infrastructure needs. He said the proposed tax structure in the bill would lower tax revenues from casinos, compared to existing tax rules.
Quinn urged lawmakers to craft a new gambling bill and not pursue the one they passed --- because he said he will veto it if it's sent to him.