The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 9, 2013

Don't give up on casino


DANVILLE — It appears advocates for a casino in Danville hold a losing hand when it comes to the veto session of the Illinois General Assembly. But those advocates say they will be ready to play again after new lawmakers are seated.

Five casinos — including the one for Danville — were part of a gambling expansion bill designed to bring more revenue to the state. With Illinois facing a dismal financial situation, many thought the gambling expansion bill would sail through.

Never underestimate the Illinois General Assembly’s ability to make something easy into something difficult.

Not surprisingly, political differences with little direct relation to gambling pushed the bill off the veto session’s agenda.

Gov. Pat Quinn already had vetoed the expansion because, he said, it lacked enough oversight. Supporters of the bill rounded up close to the number of votes necessary for an override. Then Quinn said he didn’t want to see anything on his desk until pension reform had been completed.

Lawmakers could not agree on proposed reforms, and apparently had decided to hand over their responsibility on the issue to a commission of non-elected officials. But that’s another issue.

Danville Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, repeatedly pointing out the economic value of the casino for east central Illinois, tried to be positive earlier this week. He affirmed another try will be made during the Legislature’s spring session.

A casino would add significant jobs and help local government with tax revenue. Maybe state lawmakers will recognize its practical value one of these days and quit playing politics with the issue. Let’s hope it happens soon.