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Now is the time for the legislature to act to expand gambling

Published: Friday, Nov. 30, 2012 4:58 a.m. CDT

The following editorial appeared in the Commercial-News, Danville, Ill., on Wednesday, Nov. 28:

DANVILLE (MCT) — Local representatives in the Illinois General Assembly faced a tough challenge during the veto session that started Tuesday.

A bill to expand gambling in Illinois — which includes a riverboat casino license for Danville — passed both the state Senate and House earlier this year.

However, Gov. Pat Quinn, who said he thought the bill lacked transparency, vetoed the measure.

That created the challenge for a veto override. Such a move — which would approval the bill despite the governor’s objections — requires support from three-fifths of the members in both houses of the General Assembly. The vote looked good in the House, but wasn’t so sure in the Senate.

Now a new player might be a deciding factor in pushing the gambling expansion bill into law.

House Speaker Michael Madigan had excused himself from earlier dealings on the gambling bill since his law firm might represent one of the companies seeking to participate in expanded gambling opportunities.

Now Madigan says that conflict has been removed. That puts a very influential and powerful player in the middle of the discussion.

Expanded gambling will mean more revenue for the state and, from a local standpoint, create a significant number of jobs in Danville. Quinn wants the additional gambling revenue to go to schools, which might help cover the additional costs of employee pensions some in the General Assembly want to hand back to local school districts.

Lawmakers need to decide this issue during the veto session. Pass the gambling expansion bill and give the Danville area economy a real shot in the arm.

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