By CATHY SANTOS • December 2, 2010
With significant help from Republicans, the Democrat-controlled Illinois Senate passed yet another massive expansion of gambling on Wednesday. The bill creates five new casinos – plus transforms six horse tracks into full-fledged casinos by authorizing slots and video gambling.
The four Republican State Senators who voted with the Democrats were:
Republican State Senators Bill Brady and John O. Jones voted “present.” Kyle McCarter and Carole Pankau did not cast a vote at all. By refusing to stand up for the Republican Platform, these four Republicans enabled the Democrat agenda basically as much as the four who voted “yes.”
The bill now moves to the Illinois House where it surely picks-up more Republican support. Recall in 2008, House Minority Leader Tom Double Cross schemed with Rod Blagojevich to pass similar legislation. Back then 28 House Republicans signed-on to give Rod Blagojevich billions more to spend via more gambling revenue. Democrat Speaker Mike Madigan is the one who had to stop that fiasco.
And just last year, Double Cross led the effort to massively expand gambling in the state by legalizing video poker and allowing lottery wagering over the Internet. That bill also raised a number of taxes and fees. Unfortunately that bill did become law, with the help of 25 House Republicans voting “yes.”
The current bill passed by the Senate yesterday is SB737. The House is expected to take it up when lawmakers return for the lame-duck session in early January.
Cathy Santos is a Republican political consultant.