On Friday, June 29, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn officially received Senate Bill 1849, a measure that would bring five new casinos to the state, including one in downtown Chicago; allow the state’s 10 existing casinos to expand from 1,200 positions per facility to 1,600; and permit slots at horse racetracks. The measure also would mandate more regulation at a Chicago casino and provide million for the Illinois Gaming Board to hire more staff to oversee all casinos.
Quinn has 60 days to sign the bill into law, veto it or make changes the legislature must approve for the measure to become law. He also can do nothing, and after 60 days the law would go into effect without his signature.
In early June, Quinn said, “I wouldn’t hold your breath on getting that bill signed.”
However, after receiving it, he said, “We’ll go through it line by line and make a decision.” Quinn said he was concerned about ethical “loopholes” in the legislation, which legislative leaders say will be fixed with another bill.
Senate President John Cullerton predicted Quinn will veto the bill, and in the fall legislators will approve a revised bill that addresses Quinn’s ethical concerns. However, the bill was approved without a veto-proof majority in each house.
The legislation permits a south suburban casino to be located in Bloom, Bremen, Calumet, Rich, Thornton or Worth township with up to 1,600 gaming positions, about 20 percent less than the Ameristar Casino in East Chicago. The Chicago casino could offer up to up to 4,000 gaming positions, about 20 percent more than Hammond’s Horseshoe Casino.