SPRINGFIELD -- Even though Gov. Pat Quinn says he's not budging off his position that slot machines should not be put at Arlington Park and other race tracks, state Sen. Terry Link says he thinks there's still room to negotiate.
The Waukegan Democrat is an architect of the plan Quinn has harshly criticized this week. Today, Link said he still might move forward with new legislation in the coming weeks, and that it would include slots at Arlington Park.
Link said his plan would take into account some of Quinn's calls for heavier regulations of a Chicago casino, in particular.
"I don't think we're a mile apart," Link said. "I think we're maybe a half mile apart."
Link points to the idea that Quinn is still pushing for five new casinos where gambling doesn't already exist -- Lake County and Chicago, for example.
But people already gamble at Arlington Park, making slot machines there less intrusive, Link argues.
"They already have gambling at these other venues," Link said.
Still, for Arlington Park slot machines to become law, Quinn would have to reverse on strong public statements where he's denounced the idea.
"They just want more," Quinn said of the racetracks Tuesday. "They want the opportunity to have their racetrack become a casino."
Despite Link's heavy involvement in the gambling expansion push, he said he hadn't heard about Quinn's ideas until 30 minutes before the governor's Monday news conference when a member of Quinn's staff called.
"It was not a pleasant conversation," Link said.
Lawmakers return to Springfield next week, when they could debate any adjustments to a gambling expansion proposal.