As referenced in today’s Capitol Fax,this morning’s Rockford Register-Star has a story about the governor’s comments on gaming expansion. Excerpts:
Rockford is the kind of place lawmakers had in mind in the early 1990s when they created licenses for 10 gambling riverboat casinos, Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Tuesday.
“The original intent was to help economically struggling areas, towns and communities that are suffering from the loss of manufacturing jobs and heavy industry because of the changing economy, and specifically, those communities on rivers. … Rockford is tailor-made for a riverboat,” Blagojevich said after an event at the Cherry Valley toll plaza.
Rockford “also has the additional benefit of keeping some of our dollars in Illinois from going to Wisconsin and keeping them in Illinois. On merits, Rockford makes a pretty strong case,” he said. Pro-gambling forces in Rockford warn that an American Indian-owned mega-casino planned for nearby Beloit, Wis., would siphon tax dollars from Illinois.
Blagojevich said he’s open to limited expansion of gambling to ease the state’s budget woes. [Snip]
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, huddled with Blagojevich for about five minutes, then said he’s hopeful a bill could emerge in January, when the lame-duck legislative session meets for two days.