Chicago will have to wait a little longer for it's first casino, reports Reuters. A casino bill that reached Governor Pat Quinn's desk was vetoed, meaning the planned city-owned casino, four riverboat casinos throughout the state, slot-machines at race tracks, twenty-thousand expected jobs, and $1 billion in licensing fees are all not coming to the state ... yet.
What's Governor Quinn's problem? The benefits of the casinos sound overwhelming, don't they? Twenty-thousand new jobs. A city-owned casino that would provide constant revenue to Chicago's over-burdened budget. An initial $1 billion in licensing fees that would help ease some of the state's insane budget deficit.
And no ethical protections, whatsoever.
Quinn’s problem with the job-creating bill was that it was incomplete. It had no protections against organized crime or against campaign contributions from the gaming licensees. In other words, the worst case scenario would be something out of Godfather II.
We’ll ignore the cynics that would already point to the rampant corruption in Chicago politics. What’s a little more graft in ‘The Machine’?
One of Quinn’s desired provisions that was left out of the bill was an incorporation of the Procurement Code requirements that are applicable to existing casinos in the state. We won’t bore you with the complexities of the insanely long procurement code. It is essentially a list of procedures and reports that must be undertaken to ensure transparency in how the State of Illinois procures goods and services. Bidding processes and transparency ensure that contracts aren’t handed out in exchange for political favors — ideally minimizing the impact of organized crime syndicates in state governance.
The other missing provision was the ban on campaign contributions from gaming licensees. Illinois has a history with corrupt state government, especially mayors exchanging favors for campaign contributions. Quinn wants no such problems. He even explicitly cited the history of governors in prison as reasons why the provision was necessary.
So where does the bill, and the twenty-thousand jobs, go from here? There are three possible future paths. It could die outright, which seems unlikely. Not only does would it provide funding and jobs, but it’s got the political backing of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the majority of State Senators and Representatives. It could also be revised to include Quinn’s desired protections.
The third option, overriding the veto, is something that is being discussed, according to the Examiner. The main proponent of the bill, State Rep. Lou Lang, believes that after the November elections, there might be sufficient votes to override the governor. Depending on November’s outcome, it might have a fighting chance later in the year.
- Consult a Chicago Employment Law Attorney (FindLaw)
- Purchasing Laws (Legislative Audit Commission)
- Mob Concerns May Mean Game Over For Video Gambling (FindLaw’s Chicago Criminal Law Blog)
- Rounders: Fed Judge Rules Poker is a Skill, Not Gambling (FindLaw’s New York Criminal Law Blog)