A different gambling proposal, one that encompasses many of the governor’s ideas, is making its way through the legislature but its future is dim. The measure wouldn’t allow slot machines at horse racing tracks, but Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) says it does allow for so-called impact fees.
“[The governor] allowed for the money to be replaced by an impact fee on the new casinos and the existing casinos,” he says. “And after all, there would be less competition for them because there won’t be these racinos.” Five new casino licenses would still be granted. The impact fees would, according to bill opponents, work out to about $40 million if split evenly among all 10 existing licenses.
State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) accused the measure’s sponsor of “role playing” as lawmakers discussed the bill in committee Wednesday. Righter questions why lawmakers are running a new bill in the first place, instead of sending the original bill to the governor and letting the process play out. “Rather than going through this, and this is one of those where I have constituents, and I think a number of us on this committee have constituents who will, at some point if they really take a look at this situation will go, ‘what are you people doing?,’” says Righter.
The governor’s office says the measure does not address his concerns and is a charade; which is fueling speculation that this is in fact a stunt, and the measure is dead on arrival on the Senate floor.