It’s beginning to look like the governor does not want any expansion of gambling in Illinois. State Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie), a leading sponsor of gambling bills at the statehouse, says as long as Gov. Pat Quinn insists there cannot be slot machines at race tracks, there will not be enough votes for a bill. The legislature has passed an expansion that includes five new casinos – Chicago, Danville, Rockford, the Waukegan area and the South Suburbs of Chicago – and slot machines at horse tracks, Chicago’s two airports, and at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.
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Senate leaders have expressed hope that Quinn will negotiate with them between now and when the veto session resumes Nov. 8, but Lang is not as optimistic – not as long as Quinn has left so little room to negotiate. “Some think that the governor knows well that a bill can’t pass unless slot machines at race tracks are in the bill, and therefore really does not want a bill to pass,” Lang said. Lang says the horse racing industry is part of the larger industry of Illinois agriculture. He says his bill dedicates a certain portion of racetrack revenue to promotion.