Rockford casino

The Cunningham Group

Rockford area officials have sought a casino for decades as a way to help deal with economic problems. And even with a casino looking to open just over the border in Wisconsin, they still feel that way. In this Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Guy Stephens looks at the area’s casino craving.

State Sen. Dave Syverson has been pushing for a Rockford casino for years. The Rockford Republican says casinos were started in Illinois to keep money from leaving the state, and that continues to be a big issue. 

Rockford Casino Could Get Caught Up In Larger Battle

May 28, 2015
flickr user Ian Murphy "Solar Casino Night (3)" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois would get five new casinos under Sen. Terry Link's latest proposal. They'd go to Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County and the south suburbs. It could also add so-called "satellite" casinos in places like Decatur.

As with previous proposals, horse race tracks would get be able to get slot machines.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been open to new casinos. But he's upset that Democrats are killing off his pro-business agenda. Link acknowledges, his effort could get trapped in that feud.

Brian Mackey

An Illinois state representative says gambling expansion is more likely to pass the legislature this month.

That’s after the state Supreme Court struck down a plan last week that deals with Illinois’ $100 billion dollar pension debt.

State Representative Bob Rita says more casinos in Illinois - including Rockford and Chicago - could help raise some much-needed money.

“I would believe now that revenue is more of a need today than it was last week. Here is an area that we could generate revenue, it’s just a matter of how do we get there.”

There's A Good Bet Casinos Will Be On The Table Again

Apr 14, 2015
ilga.gov

The possibility of five more Illinois casinos is expected to return this year. 

Supporters of a gambling package say Illinois' need for revenue -- coupled with a governor who appears open to the concept -- have them excited about its chances. 

The package would add casinos in Chicago, the south suburbs, Lake County, Danville and Rockford as well as permitting slot machines at horse race tracks.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan, has tried, and tried, to bring more casinos to Illinois.

Lawmaker Restarts Gambling Expansion Talks

Oct 24, 2013
ilga.gov

A Chicago-area legislator is trying to re-start negotiations over a big expansion of gambling.

Gambling was a big issue earlier this year, but negotiations fell apart in May, at the end of the spring legislative session. Since then, attention has moved to other issues, like the state's underfunded pension systems, according to  Rep. Bob Rita, D-Blue Island, and nothing has happened on gaming expansion.

So he held a hearing in which people with an interest in gambling could say where they stand. He acknowledges that little has changed since the spring.

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