Former Gov. Pat Quinn twice vetoed casino bills during his time in charge but Rauner has taken a softer stance, recognising that an expansion in gambling would create jobs and be good for the state’s economy. Emanuel has increased his efforts to bring a casino to Chicago with a series of recent meetings at his City Hall office, and Rauner has made it clear that he understands the strength of feeling behind the recent push.
“I know the city would very much like to have a significant casino within the city boundaries and I am very open to considering that,” Rauner told reporters. “I want to make sure that it’s good for all the taxpayers and all the citizens, both of Chicago and the state of Illinois, when we have that discussion.”
Emanuel would like casinos to be introduced in other parts of Illinois as well, and further talks are set to take place next week. The state’s current casinos are privately owned and Emanuel believes a casino owned by the city would do much more to help the local community.
“A city-owned casino would ensure that all profits are reinvested in Chicago and Illinois residents instead of a private, for-profit business,” Kelly Quinn, a spokeswoman for Emanuel, said in a statement. "Given that Chicagoans are facing a substantial tax increase needed to meet the nearly $600 million additional payment for police and fire pension funds, a city-owned casino is critical to protecting our taxpayers while securing the retirements of Chicago's first responders."
A bill has been recently introduced in the state legislature that would make a potential casino state-owned, with revenue split between the city of Chicago and the state. Lawmakers have gathered to consider proposals and Emanuel will hope that his push for a new casino in the Windy City finally yields results, but it could still be a lengthy process.