Illinois State Senate passes proposed casino expansion legislation

In Illinois, proposed legislation that could see the Midwestern state license up to six new casinos including one for the metropolis of Chicago has been passed by the Illinois State Senate.

According to a report from local television broadcasters WTVO-TV and WQRF-TV, the legislation, which is known as Senate Bill 7, would additionally grant Lake County and the border cities of Rockford and Danville the right to bid for a casino license and was co-sponsored by Illinois State Senators Dave Syverson and Terry Link.

“So many of us have put in a lot of time trying to make thi 7BALL s happen and this is the next step,” Syverson, a Republican that represents the 35th State Senate District outside of Rockford, told the television broadcasters. “If we can push this across the finish line, it will bring in millions of dollars to our local economy.”

The legislation was first passed by the Illinois State Senate in February as part of a ten-bill package known as the “Grand Bargain” that sought to remedy the state’s current budget shortfall. However, it was held up due to this association before being untied and ratified via a new vote on Wednesday.

“This would be an absolute game changer for our area [and] a major driver of new good-paying jobs and economic activity,” Syverson told the broadcasters. “I believe we may finally have this on track to actually be signed into law.”

The television broadcasters reported that the proposed legislation, would bring to an end the state’s riverboat-only policy on casinos, is now set to be considered by the Illinois General Assembly and must additionally be approved by Republican governor Bruce Rauner.

According to an earlier report from the Rockford Register Star newspaper, the legislation, which could moreover see south Chicago suburbs such as Orland Park, Oak Lawn or Chicago Heights granted casino licenses, would call for 5% of any revenues from a new Rockford gaming establishment to be split among local area governments with 70% of these going to the host city itself. Twenty percent of the remaining amount would be earmarked for Winnebago County while the balance would be equally split between the neighboring communities of Machesney Park and Loves Park.

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