Gov. Pat Quinn is playing hard-to-get on gambling expansion.
While a majority of Illinois legislators continue to clamor for a major expansion of gambling in Illinois (more casinos and slot machines at race tracks), Gov. Pat Quinn continues to throw cold water on the proposal.
Just this week, Quinn issued more tough talk about legislation passed by both the state House and Senate but not yet sent to him.
"I'm not going to sign what they're peddling. It's bad for Illinois," Quinn said of the expansion plan that includes a casino for Danville.
If he means it, Quinn has gambling-expansion advocates backed up against the wall.
He's been adamant that he will not stand for slot machines at race tracks. Just this week, his office issued a report that claimed more gambling in Illinois will produce $1 billion a year in new revenues for the state. Quinn's office said that is too high because new gambling venues will cannibalize business at existing casinos, and he has cited slots at race tracks as particularly troubling.
But slots at race tracks are key to the General Assembly's expansion bill because race track supporters won't vote aye if they don't get what they want.
Given his track record, it's clear that Quinn could change his mind. Indeed, some news reports have suggested Quinn will do just that.
But, for now at least, he's talking tough and inviting legislators to negotiate. Legislators, meanwhile, complain that Quinn is inflexible and is refusing to back off his support for a more limited expansion.
All this uncertainty makes it impossible to discern where the gambling issue is headed — if it's headed anywhere at all.