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Jacobs, Blagojevich Disagree on Bill That Would Add Four Casinos
Look out, Las Vegas.
If pending gaming legislation becomes law, Illinois may surpass
Nevada as the state government receiving the most tax money from
Gov. Rod Blagojevich attempted to deflate enthusiasm for gaming
expansion Tuesday by rejecting Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s proposal
for a land-based casino in the city.
Despite the governor’s objection, the gambling measure is far from
The gambling package’s sponsor, state Sen. Denny Jacobs, D-East
Moline, said he hoped to forge ahead with the measure and seek a
Gov. Blagojevich adopted populist rhetoric in a Springfield news
conference as he took on the legislature and the mayor of his hometown.
“I think the problem is the siren song of gambling solving all of
our problems — every form of gambling on every street corner in every
part of Illinois,” he said. “All of that money coming in sure is
tempting. It makes life easy. Don’t have to say `no’ to a lobbyist or
two. Why not? Then you can spend money without any consideration of
whether it makes sense or not.”
The governor said allowing a land-based casino in Chicago violates
the intent of the Riverboat Gambling Act, since it was passed more than
a decade ago to help economically distressed river towns.
Ironically, Sen. Jacobs, who sponsored the original riverboat gaming
act, is the sponsor of the latest legislation to which the governor
“He’ll probably be mad today — I’ll tell him tomorrow,” a glib
governor said as he anticipated Sen. Jacobs’ reaction during the news
Indeed, the often tart-tongued senator was quick to voice his
“I don’t think we should give up on this regardless of what the
governor says. He is not the end-all, cure-all,” he said. “This idea
that it is `My way or the highway’ doesn’t sit very well with
Despite saying he would veto any legislation that called for a
Chicago casino, Gov. Blagojevich was less clear about where he stands on
adding casinos elsewhere.
The state has nine operating casinos, four of them in Chicago
suburbs, but state law bars one from operating in the city.
When he ran for office in 2002, the governor said he opposed gambling
expansion. He now has said he’ll consider other gambling proposals if
lawmakers first look for other ways to balance the state’s expected $1.7
billion budget deficit.
The governor refused to discuss with reporters the ideas of slot
machines at horse racing tracks or allowing new casinos in economically
distressed communities such as Rockford, Waukegan or the south Chicago
This vagueness clearly irritated some lawmakers.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive