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Rivers Casino Revenue Improves While Lawmakers Consider Expansion

If lawmakers in Illinois want a blueprint for what can be produced by a casino, they have one in their own state that exemplifies the positives a casino could bring. Rivers Casino in Des Plaines improved its gaming revenue in November over the previous month, showing that Illinois residents are willing to gamble when given the opportunity.

The Rivers Casino had over $32 million in gross revenue in November. The total more than doubled the figures from October and September, leaving room for further improvement down the road. The casino is the newest facility in the state, and it also has become the highest grossing revenue producer since it opened this summer.

Harrah's Joliet came in second in the November revenue race, with $16.9 million, just less than half of what Rivers brought in. The Grand Victoria was a close third, winning $16.8 million. The Rivers was one of the few casinos in Illinois that saw a revenue increase for the month of November.

Governor Pat Quinn, while impressed by the revenue figures, is not keen on the idea of broad casino expansion in the state. A bill passed the Legislature earlier this year, but was stayed by Senate President John Cullerton after the legislative leader acknowledged that the governor was planning on vetoing the bill.

In the months since the stay, Cullerton and other lawmakers have been steadfast in their desire to create a new bill that fits within the parameters of what Governor Quinn would authorize. The original bill would have placed a new land-based casino in Chicago, as well as slots at Chicago airports. Several other casinos would have been permitted under the bill as well.

It is likely that the gambling expansion debate will spill into the new year. Lawmakers are discussing their options, working along with Quinn to come up with legislation that all parties are comfortable with. A similar situation occurred in Massachusetts before Governor Deval Patrick, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and Senate President Therese Murray ironed out a bill that was passed by lawmakers last month.

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