Gaming Meeting Set for Tomorrow Posted On:Jun 15, 2011 | Posted By:Glen
ITHA President Michael Campbell and Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn
Continue to contact the Governor because he wants to hear from the horsemen of Illinois.
GAMING MEETING SET FOR TOMORROW
Top legislators will sit down with Gov. Pat Quinn tomorrow to discuss what to do about the gaming bill. The governor has repeatedly claimed that the bill is "too top heavy," but he's never really said why he believes that or what, exactly, makes it too big for him to support. The idea, apparently, is to find out what the governor specifically wants and then see if they can do anything about it.
Lots of rumors have been floating around about what might be cut from the bill. For instance, the governor has indicated that he's not comfortable with slot machine gambling during the Illinois State Fair, claiming it would upset the "family friendly" atmosphere of the event, even though people have been betting on horse races at the fair forever. So, some have suggested that the slots be shut off during fair dates.
Others have said that maybe the number of new slots could be scaled back by ten percent. While others have said that if the existing casinos don't want to buy their new allotment of additional slots, then those could either be eliminated or the other casinos could pay a much higher price for them.
Sen. Terry Link, one of the bill's sponsors, said yesterday that absolutely nothing is on the table yet, and all the ideas being floated around should not be believed. Link said he was planning to use the meeting to listen to what the governor wants and then try to work something out, if that's possible.
Rep. Lou Lang, the other bill sponsor, said yesterday that he would not be amenable to any ideas that reduced the state's projected gaming revenues from the expansion bill. To him, simply cutting back the number of slots would be a non-starter. Lang and Link have both warned in the past several days that the gaming bill took twenty years to pass, so its delicate balance could easily be undone by any rollbacks to suit Quinn.
Legislators and the Chicago mayor's office are open to a "trailer bill," but many want him to sign this bill first. The trailer bill could conceivably be voted on during a special session called to deal with the budget and the capital plan. Senate President John Cullerton placed a parliamentary hold on the bill, preventing it from going to the governor's desk for 90 days or until an agreement is struck.
There are those who believe that because of the governor's comments about the General Assembly's passage of the bill and implication that he and not the legislators represents the will of the people, that there might be enough votes to override a veto in the House, where it received 65 votes. But even those super-optimists don't think a veto could be overridden in the Senate, where the bill got a bare majority of 30 votes. Quinn has a lot of leverage here, but if he wants new cash to pay down old state bills, he'll have to be extremely careful in how he proceeds.