Chicago Sun-Times
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Gambling expansion bill 'doesn't measure up,' Quinn says

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SPRINGFIELD-Gov. Pat Quinn signaled his displeasure with a casino expansion bill sent to him last week, saying it "doesn't measure up" but stopping short of explicitly stating that he intends to veto it.

"The bill's that's headed our way doesn't measure up, and we'll act appropriately," the governor said in an interview with Chicago Sun-Times political columnist Carol Marin on WTTW-TV's "Chicago Tonight."

Asked specifically if that means he intends to veto the measure that includes a casino for Chicago, Quinn answered, "Wait and see. You'll see. It'll be a bill that I don't think that measures up, and if it doesn't measure up, then it can't be passed."

The plan before him would authorize five casinos, including one in the city, Park City, the south suburbs and two downstate. It also would permit slot machines at racetracks and give Chicago the authority to allow slots at the city's airports.

State lawmakers passed this package in May 2011. But fearing Quinn's intentions with the bill, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) used a parliamentary maneuver to put the plan in a legislative deep freeze and avoid sending it the governor despite it having passed the House and Senate.

Cullerton removed the hold last week on the final day of the lame-duck legislative session, when the two-year term of the 97th General Assembly was coming to a close.

Quinn, whose comments aired Monday night, said one deficiency with the package was that it did not include a prohibition on gambling contributions to state officeholders. In the past, the governor characterized this specific package as "top heavy" and "excessive," while his appointed top gambling regulator called it a "pile of garbage."

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