Illinois House to Discuss Gambling Expansion Deal, Springfield Developer Rekindles Downtown Casino Talks

作者/来源:   发表时间:2018-05-29 11:30:00

A Springfield, Illinois developer has once again put forward a plan for the construction of a downtown casino and the addition of video gaming terminals at the state fairgrounds as House legislators are set to discuss a gambling expansion bill this Monday.

It was on Friday when lawmakers revived a failed effort for the legalization of up to six casinos around the state, including one in Chicago. The House Gaming Subcommittee is now set to review the gambling expansion bill at a Monday hearing. While lawmakers have renewed their interest in adding more gaming options in Illinois, they have very little time to act as the legislative session adjourns on Thursday.

The piece of legislation very much resembles a bill that was introduced and approved by the Illinois Senate last year but never made it through the House. Under the proposed bill, up to six casinos could open doors in six locations across the state, with those six being Chicago, the city’s southern suburbs, Lake and Williamson Counties, Rockford, and Danville.

Last year’s bill proposed the same six locations as the potential hosts to the state’s new casinos. Lawmakers said Friday that they have decided not to add any more casinos beyond what was proposed in the original Senate Bill from last year.

This year’s bill also includes provisions that, if the piece moves any forward, could open discussions for the legalization of online gambling, sports betting, and daily fantasy sports.

Springfield Proposal

As the new gambling expansion bill has stirred in the Legislature, Springfield developer Chris Stone has begun lobbying for the authorization of the construction of a casino in Springfield. The businessman’s gambling expansion proposal includes a 60,000-square-foot casino on a parking lot near the Bank of Springfield Center. His plan also calls for the addition of up to 200 video gaming terminals at the state fairgrounds that could be available to customers all year round.

A portion of the revenue generated by the machines would then go to the state’s coffers, while another portion would be contributed to the State Fairgrounds Foundation, which raises money to repair facilities on the fairgrounds.

Talking to local media outlet The State Journal-Register, Mr. Stone explained that the gaming positions would not ruin the family-friendly atmosphere at the fairgrounds as these would be located in a building in the northern part of the fairgrounds and would be separated from the family activities available there.

Although the developer has decided to make another push (he pitched his plan last year, as well), he told local media that he was not very optimistic the Legislature would make any significant progress toward the authorization of the proposed gambling expansion in the state. He pointed out that it is an election year, and pieces of legislation of this kind are usually paid more attention to by lawmakers during non-election years.