On the eve of the Illinois General Assembly's return to Springfield to consider legislation vetoed by Gov. Pat Quinn, East Hazel Crest and Homewood officials announced plans to pursue a gaming and entertainment complex south of Interstate 80/294 and just west of Halsted Street.
“Due to its proximity to the Indiana border, this location is ideally situated to generate significant revenue for the state of Illinois, drawing customers who travel to Indiana’s casinos and allowing Illinois to capture revenue it has been losing for years,” the suburban governments announced Monday night in a joint news release.
Officials in both villages could not immediately be reached for comment.
Homewood trustees plan to consider a formal partnership and revenue-sharing agreement Tuesday night. East Hazel Crest trustees will do the same Wednesday. Most of the land involved is in East Hazel Crest.
The villages plan to vote on a second agreement to hire law firm Barnes & Thornburg to solicit proposals from casino developers and operators.
A joint public meeting is planned for mid-December, though details have yet to be announced.
Quinn vetoed legislation in August that would have created five new casinos, including ones in Chicago and the south suburbs. He complained that the gambling expansion lacked regulatory oversight to the extent that it created “loopholes for mobsters.”
The lame-duck legislature, which returns to session Tuesday, could attempt to override the veto, though negotiators reportedly prefer to work out a compromise with the governor.
Calumet City, Lynwood, Country Club Hills and Ford Heights, which also offer a chance to attract gamblers who currently travel to Indiana, have expressed interest in hosting a casino.
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