As a pension deal fell apart in the last hours of the spring session, the Illinois Senate approved a gambling expansion Thursday that would add casinos in Chicago and four other cities. It is now up to Gov. Pat Quinn to approve the bill.
The bill, SB 1849, passed 30-26, with three senators voting present. Quinn, who promised to veto a gambling bill last year, has said he will not sign the bill. Neither the House nor the Senate’s versions of the bill got enough votes to overturn a potential veto, but each chamber said they could get the votes during a November veto session.
“There’s a bunch of [senators] we’ll have in the fall if we need them,” said sponsoring Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) of 29 senators who either voted against the bill or “present.” “We know why some of them did what they did,” he told the State Journal-Register.
The Senate bill would need six more votes; the House bill, which passed 69-47, would need two more.
In addition to the casinos, the bill would add slot machines at racetracks, which Quinn has said is a deal breaker. Quinn also opposes any gambling expansion without stricter ethics reforms, such as banning political contributions from gambling lobbyists.
See how Senate members voted below:
Christine Hurley contributed to this report.