Link: No vote on gambling until new session

Updated 1/4/2013 12:34 AM
  • Terry Link

    Terry Link

SPRINGFIELD -- Yet another term of the Illinois General Assembly will come to an end next week without approval of slot machines for Arlington Park and new casinos in Lake County, Chicago and elsewhere, state Sen. Terry Link said Thursday.

Link, a Waukegan Democrat, had left the door open for a last-minute deal before new lawmakers take their seats Jan. 9, but he closed it Thursday.

"I pretty much think we'll be waiting until the new session," Link said.

The gambling expansion debate is a perpetual one in Springfield that got its closest ever to final approval in 2012. Lawmakers sent Gov. Pat Quinn a proposal that would have created five new casinos and given Arlington Park slot machines, the first time in more than a decade of debate that such a plan had reached a governor's desk.

But with an eye on trying to tackle some of the state's other financial problems first, Quinn vetoed it. And lawmakers didn't override him.

"A casino on every street corner will not solve the state's $96 billion unfunded pension liability," Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said Thursday. "That's why the governor continues to insist that pension reform be enacted before any expansion of gaming."

Link said he'll work with new lawmakers after they're sworn in to come up with legislation that Quinn would sign. Until there's a compromise, any new gambling legislation might have failed again.

"We've voted on it a lot of times," Link said. "But you'd like to vote on it one last time."

Gambling: Governor still insists on pension reform first

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