Illinois Representative Robert Rita (D-Blue Island) is making good on his promise to gather public opinions over the gambling expansion bill twice vetoed this year by Governor Quinn. The bill contained proposals to expand casino operations in the City of Chicago, in Chicago’s southern suburbs, in Danville, in Lake County and in Rockford.
The House Executive Committee being vice-chaired by Rep. Rita is set to hold a hearing on October 23, which could possibly lead to the holding of more meetings if necessary. The Democratic Republican voiced his mindset about getting the bill right not just for the benefit of Illinois’ casino industry but for the people of the state as well, including the regulators who will oversee the bill’s implementation.
Although every aspect of the expansion bill would be up for scrutiny and comments during the hearing, among the issues that Rep. Rita wants to look into are:
- The proposed revenue sharing scheme between the host municipality and neighboring communities;
- The extent of the Illinois Gaming Boards’ regulatory control, specifically over the matter of vetting operators who will run wagering shops within the vicinity of a Chicago-owned casino;
- The blanket designation of the Southland as a potential site for a future casino, as this stands in contrast to the other town-specific casino sites mentioned in the bill.
Actually, Rep. Rita became the bill’s sponsor when its erstwhile backer Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) transferred sponsorship to him, a few weeks before the scheduled adjournment of the 2013 legislative sessions. However, Rep. Rita who was himself uncomfortable with some of the measures proposed by the revised gambling expansion bill, decided not to push for its voting during the final session of the 2013 General Assembly.