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Gov. Quinn Vetoes Latest Push for City Casinos

By Darryl Holliday | March 4, 2013 4:01pm | Updated on March 4, 2013 4:09pm
 Gov. Pat Quinn stands in front of a Super Wal-Mart construction site in Pullman. (Feb. 18, 2013)
Gov. Pat Quinn stands in front of a Super Wal-Mart construction site in Pullman. (Feb. 18, 2013)
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DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

CHICAGO — A bill that would allow for casinos in Chicago went bust when it was vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn Monday.

In a veto message sent to lawmakers, Quinn rejected Senate Bill 744 for what he called its "total absence of comprehensive ethical standards and regulatory oversight," among other reasons.

The decision comes as little surprise — a sentiment Quinn alluded to in his message when he reminded the public of another gaming bill that once crossed his desk.

"As I made clear when I vetoed Senate Bill 1849 last summer, I will not approve of any gaming expansion without strong ethical standards, comprehensive oversight and dedicated resources for education," he wrote. "Unfortunately, Senate Bill 744 is even more significantly flawed."

Both bills would have provided for the creation of a Chicago Casino Development Authority and allowed electronic gaming at race tracks.

Quinn has publicly opposed various pieces of the bill over the two years since it was filed, at times clashing with Mayor Rahm Emanuel over how gaming could be of use to Illinois.

In November, Emanuel said the two were “very close” to agreeing on a bill and said the two agree on the need for strong oversight — a key sticking point in the past.

Quinn's decision suggests that the point was still sticking — his veto message argues the bill "lacks a ban on campaign contributions" by casino managers which he said is "essential to keeping corruption out of the gaming industry."

A spokeswoman for Emanuel couldn't be reached for comment Monday. But the mayor has advocated for a Chicago casino, saying it would create jobs and lead to increased resources for education.

Monday's veto will mean legislators will have to start from scratch on a new gaming bill for the state.

On a separate, but related, issue, Quinn urged lawmakers not to "gamble our way out of our pension" problems in his veto letter.

"Any gaming revenue is a drop in the bucket compared to the $96 billion unfunded pension liability that Illinois faces," he warned.

Reporter/Producer Ted Cox contributed to this report.