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Illinois Gambling Bill Goes to Governor

2 June 2011 by admin

Illinois_2The state of Illinois took a giant step toward bringing gambling expansion to the state this week, with the House and Senate passing legislation. With the bill now on the governor’s desk, though, people are wondering if it has a chance of being signed into law.

Governor Pat Quinn (D) has said that he is okay with a casino being established in Chicago, which is part of the bill. However, he said that he does not want “an excessive gambling bill that’s top heavy.” He feels that he mirrors the public sentiment in that regard. Unfortunately, the bill he was given is a top-heavy gambling bill, according to Quinn. The legislation would allow a Chicago casino as well as four other new casinos in Illinois. In addition, it would allow slot machines at all racetracks and at two airports in the state.

The bill passed through the Illinois General Assembly rather quickly. By a 65-50 margin, it passed the House on Monday. On Tuesday, the legislation passed the Senate by a 30-27 vote. A major proponent of the bill is new Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), best known as President Obama’s first White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel wanted to bring a casino to the Windy City because the city is losing gambling business to a casino in Hammond, Indiana, which is only 25 miles from downtown Chicago. Emanuel lobbied Governor Quinn and lawmakers in the General Assembly for passage of the bill. The bill grew from what Emanuel originally endorsed, though, to become the “excessive” bill it is now.

Governor Quinn has promised to closely examine the legislation and at this point, he has not said that he will veto it. Most experts think that is likely, though. If he does veto it, it is unlikely that the General Assembly has enough votes to overturn his decision.

There are two vetoes available for Governor Quinn. He can issue an outright veto, which kills the bill unless the Assembly can overturn the veto. He can also use a conditional veto, where the bill is kicked back down to the General Assembly with his amendments. The Assembly would then discuss the changed bill and vote on whether or not to approve his revisions.

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