Link still optimistic about Lake County casino
BY ED COLLINS For Sun-Times Media February 8, 2014 11:06PM
Remember this? It was an artist’s drawing of what the proposed casino for Waukegan was going to look like. How old is this drawing? We have just about hit the 10-year mark, as the illustration was distributed in March of 2004. | SUN-TIMES MEDIA FILE
HOW CASINOS ARE DOING
ILLINOIS GAMING 2012/2013 NUMBERS Adjusted Gross Receipts In Millions Casino 2012 2013
Adjusted Gross Receipts In Millions
Casino 2012 2013
Joliet Harrah’s $215.3 $206.5
Elgin $226.7 $201.4
Aurora $159.9 $149.2
Joliet Hollywood $135.7 $141.0
East St. Louis $132.1 $128.7
East Peoria $116.2 $112.0
Metropolis $102.7 $91.8
Rock Island $87.5 $85.5
Alton $70.9 $68.5
Updated: March 4, 2014 11:37AM
State Senator Terry Link, D-Waukegan, believes there is still hope that Lake County will someday have a gaming casino.
Link appeared before the Park City Council last Thursday night to finalize a $500,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help the city construct a new public works facility to replace a smaller one.
“We have to leave some of our trucks and other equipment outdoors year-round because there’s no room for them inside our current building,” Mayor Steve Pannell told Link in appreciation for helping arrange the grant.
Following the aldermen’s approval of the proposed grant application, Link offered to respond to general questions. Ald. Larry Eaker asked Link about the current status of having a gaming casino in Park City. He said the Council has been pushing for one for the past six years to create new jobs and enhance the city’s economic development.
Link said he continues to be optimistic about having a casino located somewhere in Lake County.
“We have reached agreement with the governor on several items that he objected to when he vetoed our previous bill last year, and we have the support of the Senate. We are now awaiting favorable support from the House before moving the bill,” Link said.
He mentioned that Gov. Patrick Quinn had objected to specifically naming Park City, or any other city, as the site of Lake County’s casino, preferring to leave the decision up to the Illinois Gaming Board.
Link believes that the best place for a Lake County casino would be in the Waukegan, Park City, or North Chicago area.
He has proposed that as part of any casino legislation that the three cities would share area profits based upon population of 50 percent for Waukegan, and 25 percent each for Park City and North Chicago.
Proposed new legislation would add five new Illinois casinos, including one for Chicago, that state fiscal officials estimate could bring in $1.6 billion annually in licensing and other related fees, along with many new jobs and more economic development.
“Right now, our Illinois residents are spending gaming money in both Wisconsin and Indiana that should be kept here,” Link maintains.