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New casino towns heap praise on governor

Tuesday, Jul 2, 2019

* He’s having a heck of a week and it’s only Tuesday. WIFR TV

Illinois. Gov. JB Pritzker says he’s on a mission to help Rockford “beat Beloit” in a tight race to build a casino.

Pritzker and Lt. Gov.Juliana Stratton joined Rockford-area lawmakers for a news conference on authorization of a casino license in Rockford.

Pritzker says the casino could generate hundreds of million dollars from across the state.

Right across the border, Ho-Chunk Nation is waiting on the Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve bringing a casino to Beloit.

Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) said the city is operating on a 24-48 month timeline to get the casino in Rockford.

* Northern Public Radio

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker visited Rockford Monday morning to mark the start of the process toward building a new casino in the area.

Organizers handed out playing cards and poker chips that read “J.B. Bet On Us” and “Our Governor Is Aces.” A bill he signed last week allows for 6 new casinos statewide, mostly in cities near the Illinois border. Pritzker said casino revenue is a key component of his capital plan:

“This additional revenue helps ease some of the pressure on escalating property taxes,” he said, “and most importantly, we’re going to do everything possible to help Rockford beat Beloit and attract casino-goers from across the border.”

* WTVO

According to Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, the city alone could get anywhere from $4 to $8 million. The casino would also create some 600 construction jobs and over 1000 jobs just at the casino.

“This means jobs for families in our community. This means revenue to the city,” said McNamara. “So, we can not burden people with property taxes. This is a good deal.”

* Rockford Register-Star

“From the first time we met, we had a number of asks outlined on behalf of the city of Rockford,” [Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara] said. “I am here to say that every single one of those, he delivered on.”

* WREX TV

“I can tell you as a Republican, we have never had an opportunity where a governor stepped up, saw there was gridlock going on, and got people in to the room and made the case that we need to get this done,” [Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford] said. “The urgency of getting this done this year, and with the governor’s help we were finally able to get this done. We have an opportunity to bring those people back home and bring more back home.”

* Lake County News-Sun

Gov. J.B. Pritzker received standing ovations and many thanks at Waukegan City Hall Monday as he tours the state highlighting his Rebuild Illinois Capital and Transportation programs that will benefit Lake County.

One of the bigger prizes was a casino license for Waukegan.

State Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, a former Waukegan resident, joked about how he has “in my spare time for the last 20 years, I’ve been working on a bill. I just kept misspelling some words and they’d cancel it. We’d do a few other things, and they’d cancel it,” he said, drawing laughter. […]

Under the capital program, money is earmarked for the following Lake County projects: $61 million for interchange construction at Routes 176 and 41 in Lake Bluff and North Chicago; $58.7 million for reconstruction and widening of State Route 22 in Kildeer and Long Grove; $45 million for stabilization of the Adeline Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park shoreline; $26.7 million for a new classroom building at the College of Lake County; $1.7 million for dredging on the Chain O’Lakes; $3.5 million for capital improvements at Rosalind Franklin University in North Chicago; and $1 million for renovations to North Chicago High School, according to the governor’s office.

* Sun-Times

At a news conference alongside Pritzker on Monday touting the capital bill, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wants the city casino to open “as soon as possible.

“Obviously we’ll be involved in the process,” Lightfoot said of the study. “I’m hoping we can get it done relatively soon, so we can start the process.” […]

A Chicago casino has eluded city officials as a potential cash cow since at least 1992, when former Mayor Richard M. Daley first floated a proposal. Link noted that Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, the state’s most profitable gaming site, pulled in more than $440 million last year.

“And [Chicago’s casino] will be much more profitable than that,” the senator said.

* Tribune

Lightfoot, Pritzker and transit leaders appeared together at a news conference to discuss spending projects under the plan.

One of the projects planned for the Chicago area is the $561 million reconstruction of Interstate 190, the westernmost leg of the Kennedy Expressway, from Bessie Coleman Drive to Interstate 90. The project, which will include the addition of auxiliary lanes, is intended to improve safety and access to the expanding airport, according to the state.

Another $72.6 million will go toward improvements to 38 bridges on the Kennedy from the Edens Expressway to Hubbard Street, the state said.

Other big area road projects include $1 billion for the expansion of Interstate 80 in Will County, which will involve the replacement of two deteriorated bridges over the Des Plaines River in Joliet. The Illinois Department of Transportation also plans to spend $92 million to rebuild the intersection of 95th Street and Stony Island Avenue, which will include reconstruction of railroad bridges, plus bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

“Pardon our dust in the next few years while we rebuild Illinois,” said Omer Osman, the state’s acting secretary of transportation.

* He’s in southern Illinois today

Governor JB Pritzker is scheduled to visit southern Illinois Tuesday.

The governor is making stops at Walker’s Bluff and at Laborers Local 773 in Marion to tout the recently passed Rebuild Illinois package.

Part of that package was the expansion of gambling in Illinois. It allows for more sports betting, video gaming expansion, and six new casinos, one of which will be at Walker’s Bluff.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

12 Comments
  1. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    Really? Let me get this straight. Along with increasing taxes across the board and legalizing cannibis, establishing casinos across the State is Governor Pritzker’s plan to avert financial disaster in Illinois. And, as usual, Black and Brown communities are being targeted as part of this wrong-headed experiment. Gambling is stigmatized for good reason - it attracts black markets and organized crime. Gamblers are prone to addiction and self-destructive behavior. Heaping praise on this Governor for short-sighted political gain is just as offensive as his underlying policies.


  2. - A guy - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:00 am:

    So the race is on.
    Wisconsin Bureau of Indian Affairs approving a Ho-Chunk Casino
    vs.
    JB approving a Ho-Chunky Casino.

    Who’s laying odds on who chunks who first?


  3. - A State Employee Guy - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:11 am:

    I’m all for revenue, but not from those who can least afford it.


  4. - Real - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    Black Ivy.

    As an African American non smoker I completely disgree with you. You speak of canabis being legalized but you don’t speak on the black and brown communities that were targeted in the war on drugs. How is legalizing it going to send more blacks to prison. As an adult we should have that choice to smoke or not or do you prefer the government have absolute control of that choice. Also, as an adult we have the choice to gamble or not. You can’t sit here and act like you don’t play lottery. Its a caaino in republican Indiana. You say you support republucans but you’re silent on the casino there. I remember back when you also supported Bruce Rauner keeping the budget hostage so we should know that anything posted from you is coming from a warped perspective.


  5. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    I really hope they did not over estimate the number of people gambling seems like a lot of ways to gamble now.


  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    ===is Governor Pritzker’s plan to avert financial disaster in Illinois===

    No.

    Casino revenue goes to infrastructure. Cannabis revenue won’t be much in the first year and after five years will top out at around $500 million.

    You created a straw man for your own purposes, which you do quite a lot.


  7. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    If he isn’t going to get love from the new casino towns then who is going to give him love.

    I am kind of surprised one of them hasn’t already named a road or park after him.


  8. - DarkDante - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    At the risk of beating a deadhorse…

    ==Governor Pritzker’s plan to avert financial disaster in Illinois===

    Is the the graduated income tax! Huzzah! The current year increases (gas tax and license fees, etc) and expansions (pot and gambling) were, in his own words, a bridge to the graduated income tax.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    •• “I can tell you as a Republican, we have never had an opportunity where a governor stepped up, saw there was gridlock going on, and got people in to the room and made the case that we need to get this done,” [Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford] said ••

    Such a contrast to the last governor and so great. Congrats to people in both parties who got this done. Gambling and marijuana should make Rockford very competitive with Wisconsin.

    “Along with increasing taxes across the board and legalizing cannibis, establishing casinos across the State is Governor Pritzker’s plan to avert financial disaster in Illinois”

    That’s how financial disaster is averted, raising revenue. The last governor purposely starved the state of revenue and made debt skyrocket. The 2015 state income tax decrease neither brought much job growth nor revenue to avert major damage.


  10. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    California pot revenue in 2018 totaled approx $345 million. 38 million population. Should we assume 1/3 on the safe side.


  11. - Odysseus - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 1:51 pm:

    “Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) said the city is operating on a 24-48 month timeline to get the casino in Rockford.”

    This is still way too long. Hoover Dam was four years from the first check to the ribbon cutting, and they’re pouring a lot less concrete than that.


  12. - Stuntman Bob's Brother - Tuesday, Jul 2, 19 @ 3:19 pm:

    I’m afraid we’re already near the saturation point for casinos, and will shoot past it with the proposed new additions. Casinos need to be a tourist destination, not something to provide expensive entertainment for the locals who can least afford it. I’ve seen plenty of camper-trailers at Peoria’s Pair-O-Dice, but once there is a casino within fifty miles of anywhere, I’m afraid the out-of-towners will stop coming, oversaturation may lead to all but the biggest and ritziest locations to be money-losers, for both the owners and nearby residents.

    Bottom line, if there’s a casino in Rockford and another in Beloit, one of them is likely to be unprofitable, which will likely be the one that will have to share the most with its home state.

    Personally, I used to gamble in East Peoria, but when the odds tipped to the point where a hundred bucks would go into (not through) a slot machine faster than you-know-what through a goose, it lost the attraction of being “entertainment”, and now I limit my gaming to a bi- or tri-annual trip to Vegas.


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