US Illinois State Rep Rita Puts Forward Amendments to Scale Down Gambling Expansion Bill

The State of Illinois’ much ballyhooed Senate Bill 1739 will have two new amendments worked out by Blue Island Democrat Rep. Bob Rita, as he aims to scale down the 500 plus-page proposals and to simplify the state lawmaking body’s efforts. Rep. Rita believes that it is the best way to achieve the most important objectives: “creating a strong revenue source for Illinois and its communities and putting people to work.”

SB 1739, which was twice vetoed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn in 2013, contains proposals that raised contentions coming from different sectors; such as the number of gaming spots for slot machines, the communities and suburbs designated for gambling expansion, the profit-sharing and spending schemes, a Chicago-owned casino and the seemingly impaired regulatory authority of the Illinois Gaming Board (IGB).

In light of the surrounding arguments, Rep. Rita’s proposed amendments include among others:

  • A state-owned Chicago casino with around 4,000 up to 10,000 authorized gaming spots instead of the previously proposed Chicago-owned gambling establishment. Moreover, the state government, the south suburban communities and Cook County will each have a share of the Chicago casino’s revenues.
  • Authorize casino operations in Lake, Vermillion, Winnebago and the southern suburbs but with fewer gaming spots.
  • Permit gaming spots in racing tracks, but exclude those in Metro East and allow only half the number of gaming positions previously recommended.
  • Limit state gambling revenue spending to educational and capital construction projects, and local-spending to pension fund augmentation.
  • Retain the proposed $5 million specialty fund for gambling rehabilitation programs and strike out all other specialty funds called for by the original bill.

About the Author

Mark Whysall