House Speaker Michael Madigan said that if Gov. Pat Quinn vetoes a gaming expansion measure passed at the end of the spring legislative session, it may be the end of the line for the bill.
When asked whether he thought that there would be a successful override if Quinn rejects Senate Bill 1849, Madigan simply said, “No.”
Quinn has yet to act on the bill, but he has been publicly critical of it, saying it does not contain ethics provisions that he thinks are necessary. He said earlier this week that he is still weighing his choice.
The expansion would mean five new casinos statewide, in Chicago, Park City, Danville, Rockford and in the south suburbs of Chicago. The exact location of the fifth casino would be up to the Illinois Gaming Board to decide. The bill includes slot machines at horse racing tracks, which Quinn has opposed, but does not allow for slots at the Illinois State Fairgrounds or Chicago airports, which Quinn was very vocal in opposing.
The governor has not been receptive to broad gaming expansions in the past. He proposed a drastic trim back of a gambling bill, which lawmakers approved last year. Supporters of the plan in the Senate used a parliamentary procedure to keep the bill from ever reaching Quinn's desk.
"I think the [House] speaker is wrong. I think we'll have votes in the House and in the Senate to override a gubernatorial veto," said Skokie Democrat Lou Lang, who sponsored both gambling expansion bills. "Now, [Quinn] hasn't vetoed the gaming bill yet. Maybe he'll surprise us and sign it. And if he does, I'll be the most surprised person in the Capitol. But I'm prepared for any eventuality."
Lang said the bill he sponsored has strong ethics provisions, but he also said he is open to the governor's suggestions. "I'm prepared to give the governor virtually anything he wants."