CHICAGO (AP) —
Gov. Pat Quinn on Tuesday rejected a bill to expand gambling in Illinois
that would have made way for a land-based casino in Chicago, saying the
proposal lacked sufficient regulatory oversight.
With his two
immediate predecessors in prison, the Chicago Democrat said integrity must
be a hallmark of the gambling plan, which also proposed establishing four
new riverboat casinos and allowing slot machines at racetracks.
The most glaring
omission from the bill "is the absence of strict ethical standards and
comprehensive regulatory oversight. Illinois should never settle for a
gaming bill that includes loopholes for mobsters," Quinn said in a statement
announcing the veto.
legislators to work with him on its shortcomings, although the bill's House
sponsor said his attempts to meet with Quinn have been rebuffed. Rep. Lou
Lang, D-Skokie, predicted there would be enough House votes this fall to
override Quinn's veto.
At a suburban
Chicago appearance late Tuesday morning, Quinn rejected that forecast.
"That veto will
be sustained," he told reporters. "I think I did the right thing."
the bill estimated the expansion could have brought in up to $1 billion a
year, boost tourism and create 100,000 jobs for the state. Chicago Mayor
Rahm Emanuel supported the establishment of a city casino. Opponents
meanwhile warned of market saturation and raised concerns about the social
would have established a city-owned Chicago casino with spots for 4,000
people to gamble at once. It also would have added riverboat casinos in
Danville, Park City, Rockford and an undecided location in Chicago's south
suburbs. Each riverboat casino would have had 1,600 gambling positions and
allowed Illinois' 10 existing casinos to grow.
Quinn, who isn't
opposed to gambling on principle, had said all along that he wanted a bill
with stronger ethical protections. That includes barring the gambling
industry from making political contributions. He said the proposal has "too
many defects" for him to consider using his amendatory veto powers to change
"It's one thing
if you had to make some technical changes here and there," Quinn said
Tuesday. "This bill just falls way short of what the people of Illinois need
when it comes to ethics in government."
In his veto
message, Quinn took aim at the proposed Chicago casino, claiming the bill
would have allowed it to play by different rules. He said the Illinois
Gaming Board wouldn't have the same regulatory authority over the Chicago
outlet as it holds over other casinos in the state and that the city casino
would not have to follow the state's procurement code in handing out
That would leave
taxpayer-financed contracts "vulnerable to organized crime, unsavory
influence and potentially overpriced vendors," Quinn wrote.
responses to the governor's critique, lawmakers offered follow-up
legislation to address some of the concerns. However that wouldn't be
considered unless the initial law is signed, and Quinn has said he'd rather
get all the legislation signed at once.
Lang said he
would seek an override in the fall legislative session and dismissed the
suggestion that Quinn might be open to discussing differences with the
"The bottom line
is he doesn't want to sign a gaming bill," Lang said. "If he had language to
propose, he would have proposed it."
criticized the legislation for providing too little support for public
education. Past gambling expansions have been designed to bring in more
revenue for public services such as schools, but the 1991 law that created
riverboat casinos was intended to help economically depressed cities.