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Quinn Weighs In On Illinois Gambling Expansion Bill

Governor Pat Quinn has been one of the biggest hurdles for gambling expansion in the state of Illinois, and with lawmakers closer than ever to passing a gaming expansion bill, Quinn has again weighed in with doubt that a deal will get done.

Quinn was preparing to veto a bill last year that would have brought slots not only to new casinos, but also to Chicago airports. That bill, according to the governor, was too broad of an expansion effort. This year, Senate President John Cullerton stayed the bill to give lawmakers time to change the legislation to fit the governor's concerns.

Cullerton repeatedly asked Governor Quinn for a directive on which areas of the bill should be adjusted, and it was not until earlier this year that Quinn obliged and gave Cullerton the framework for a new bill. Lawmakers have changed the original bill, and now are close to passing the legislation with enough votes that will ensure a veto is not possible from Quinn. Still, the governor is weary of the gaming plans.

"I wouldn't hold your breath on getting that bill signed," said Quinn. It, "contained a lot of loopholes that are not good for the people."

The bill would allow slot machines at state racetracks, and also would create several new gaming facilities. The governor understands that this is an election year, and allowing a large gambling expansion bill to pass could alter the political landscape in the state.

One of the biggest issues Quinn has with the new bill is its inability to block campaign donations to politicians from gambling interests. That aspect of the bill may still be stripped out of the legislation, but currently lawmakers are moving forward with the bill as it was written.

Illinois is one of many states in the US that have been turning to gambling expansion to help build back their economy after the economic recession. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has been a strong proponent of new casinos in Chicago since he took office last year, and Emmanuel has clashed with Governor Quinn on several occasions regarding the gambling issue.

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