Gaming Expansion Plan Still Under Wraps

May 29, 2019

With only three full days left in the Illinois Spring legislative session, the long-awaited gaming expansion plan is still under wraps. 

Only lawmakers and stakeholders involved in negotiations know what will be in the final proposal, which would allow for the construction of more casinos around the state and legalize sports gambling. 

If the idea is to pass the measure by the end of the day Friday, as several lawmakers would like, the time-frame doesn’t allow much room for changes or feedback from the public.

But State Sen. Terry Link, a Vernon Hills Democrat, said he’s confident the process will work out.  “It’s not like this is all new concept, we’re working off of bills that we’ve done in the past, we’re tweaking them, we’re changing them around a lot,” he said. 

“We’re working bipartisan, we’re working with the House and Senate Republicans, plus the governor’s office.”

And just in case Link's predictions materialize, some labor groups Tuesday made a final push to make sure Southern Illinois gets a casino license.  Several other cities across the state, like Rockford, are asking for the same opportunity. 

Brandi Bradley, with Laborer’s Local 773, a union representing construction workers, said a license would help create over 1,250 construction jobs and 926 permanent jobs at the proposed Walker’s Bluff Resort in the Carterville  area. 

“The state needs jobs but nowhere needs jobs more like Southern Illinois. These are the kinds of jobs you can raise your family on,” Bradley said. 

The General Assembly still has to take up recreational marijuana and an infrastructure plan by the end of the week. Most of these are  still being discussed behind closed doors.