The Governor's office called today to clarify remarks Gov. Pat Quinn made to the Chicago Sun-Times in a Monday Editorial Board interview concerning a Chicago casino and whether the license can be revoked.
Quinn was asked about the level of oversight that there should be over a Chicago casino and specifically, whether a city casino should endure the same scrutiny as other casinos in the state. He was asked about some language that Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe said gives the city the upper hand when there's a conflict between the Chicago Casino Board appointed by the Mayor and the State Gaming Board.
Quinn: "There can't be ambiguity, the way I look at it. That's what we're telling our friends in the House right now. Ambiguity. Very bad."
Sun-Times: So you're saying that can't be the case?
Quinn: "The gaming board has to be the final judge. It has worked. And we already know, thanks to the Sun-Times that things didn't go so well when the city was running things. Hired Trucks. Silver Shovels and ..."
"It's just common sense that the city should not be a regulatory authority on its gambling. Especially since this would be the first municipally-owned casino in the country."
Quinn was then asked about the board's ability to yank the City's casino license.
Sun-Times: What about the language that says the license can never be revoked from the City? That's unlike other casinos in the state.
Quinn: The perpetuity thing? Yeah. Well, you want to make sure the gaming board has the authority to halt in its tracks if they find something seriously wrong, as they did by the way in Elgin ... The gaming board has to have that authority, that's more important than anything.
Sun-Times: So at bottom, do you think the gaming board should have the same authority over Chicago as every other casino in the state?
"Yes, understanding that Chicago is municipally-owned, I do think that the Gaming Board Authority must be supreme. The other casinos are privately owned, this is publicly-owned. But the gaming board has to be the umpire. The final judge. I think that's imperative."
Sun-Times: You think that's imperative, so will you not sign a bill that doesn't have that in there?
Quinn: "Well, we're negotiating the matter right now. The Senate bill needs improvement."
Sun-Times: But is that a must? Does that have to be in there?
Quinn: "It has been from day one."
Today, spokeswoman Brooke Anderson called to say the governor's office is actually "comfortable" with the language in the bill as to the City-owned casino's license being perpetual. Anderson said language in the bill allows the state board to remove the City's operator if there's an issue, which in essence would shut it down.