SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) – Lawmakers have sent a mass expansion of gambling to Gov. Pat Quinn, who hasn’t shown his hand yet. The bill would create five new casinos, including the first in Chicago, allow old casinos to expand and allow slot machines in the state’s struggling horse tracks.
The bill barely got the required 30 Yes votes in the state Senate, with 27 No votes and two Present votes.
Supporters claim the bill will create thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the cash-strapped state’s economy. Horse racing supporters say slot machines could help revive that struggling industry.
Quinn has sent mixed signals on the bill. He recently warned against turning Illinois into the Las Vegas of the Midwest, but supports a new casino in Chicago.
Quinn could amendatorily veto the bill, sending it back to lawmakers with recommended changes that the Legislature can accept or reject.
The bill in its present form would be the biggest gaming expansion in Illinois since the first fleet of 10 casino riverboats were licensed two decades ago.