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2:14 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Quinn Vetos Gambling Expansion

Legislation to expand gambling the General Assembly approved nearly two years ago is finally dead.  Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a measure that would have given Illinois five new casinos.

Gov. Pat Quinn
Gov. Pat Quinn

When Quinn gives his annual budget address Wednesday, he's expected to highlight Illinois' plethora of financial problems.

That frustrates supporters of gambling expansion, who say more casinos would be like hitting the jackpot.

This is the second time Quinn rejected legislation that would give casinos to Rockford, Chicago and three other locations.  It also would have allowed slot machines at horse race tracks.

In his veto message, Quinn says this version's most "glaring deficiency is the total absence of comprehensive ethical standards."

Rep. Lou Lang, D-Skokie, the measure's sponsor and House Deputy Majority Leader, says legislators embrace adopting tougher regulation.

"The governor's never told us with specificity what it is he wants.  He alludes to certain things but guesswork isn't going to get it done because every time we guess … he moves the goal line on us."
                                                                                                -- State Rep. Lou Lang

Lang says gambling negotiations continue. But they're always dicey, and any new proposal will have to get through a brand new General Assembly. 

Quinn's veto message also hints that he won't approve more casinos unless lawmakers first reduce the state's pension costs.