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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Illinois, Massachusetts mull gambling proposals

5 August 2011

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois -- Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has still not decided what he will do with a gaming bill that could massively expand gambling throughout the state.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts a casino developer said he’s launching a ballot initiative campaign for the 2012 election that would legalize three casinos in the state.

Illinois and Massachusetts are the two most active gaming expansion markets currently in play.

Quinn told media outlets in Illinois on Wednesday he hadn't made up his mind about the bill that was approved by state lawmakers in June. The measure would add five new casinos, including one in Chicago, increase gambling at the state's existing 10 casinos and add slot machines at racetracks in the state and at Chicago's airports.

Quinn said he was still meeting with the bill’s proponents and opponents.

Also, the Chicago Crime Commission said Quinn shouldn't sign the bill because it can't be properly regulated. Crime commission deputy director Jody Weis, the former Chicago police superintendent, warned in a statement that scandal and corruption were to be expected if the gambling expansion becomes law.

In Massachusetts, Colorado casino developer David Nunes has submitted language to the Attorney General’s office that would license one Indian-run casino in the eastern part of the state and one casino in the western part of the state. The bill would also specifically designate that a third casino must be run by his company, Crossroads Massachusetts LLC, on land bordering Route 495 and Route 16 in Milford.

Nunes said he was frustrated by years of inaction in the State Legislature.

Nunes said, however, he would only push the ballot question if the Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick fail to legalize casinos when the issue is debated next month.

Patrick and legislative leaders have failed multiple times in recent years to legalize casinos, even though he, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray all say they favor gaming expansion.