CHICAGO - Plans for a $2 billion casino and entertainment complex in Chicago appear to be off the agenda for the spring session of the Illinois legislature, which ends Tuesday, according to state officials.
Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said yesterday the speaker expects that lack of support from Gov. Jim Edgar will probably keep casino gambling from coming up this session.
The governor, like many lawmakers, has expressed concern about the impact land-based casino gambling would have on other gambling operations in the state.
Earlier this week, the House voted overwhelmingly to set up a task force to study the various aspects of the gambling proposal and report back to the legislature by March 1, 1993.
Sen. William Marovitz, D-Chicago, chairman of a Senate subcommittee on casino gambling, predicted the issue would not come up until the fall.
"There are a lot of questions members need answers to," he stated. "This summer we will have hearings across the state and we'll see if we can work a solution so that casino gambling can coexist with horse racing and riverboat gambling."
The casino plan backed by Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago would need legislative approval of land-based gambling and a 10% reduction in the state's gambling tax to accommodate the privately financed complex proposed to the city in March by Circus Circus Enterprises Inc., Hilton Hotels Corp., and Caesars World Inc.
Mr. Marovitz added that his committee would also be reviewing projections that casino gambling in Chicago would generate more than $500 million in new tax revenue a year for the state and local governments, while creating 36,000 permanent jobs in the state. The mayor threw his support behind the gambling concept due to the new revenues and jobs the projects would create.
Yesterday, Noelle Gaffney, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said the Daley administration has not ruled out pursuing legislation for the casino plan during the current legislative session.
Ms. Gaffney added that, in the meantime, the administration was focusing on getting the necessary legislation passed that would enable Chicago, Illinois, and Indiana to form a authority to oversee the development of a partially bond-financed $10.8 billion airport on the city's southeast side.
While two attempts to pass legislation have failed in the House in recent weeks, another vote is expected today, according to Bob Repel, the mayor's representative for the airport.
Democrats hope to win over Republican legislators for the airport plan after Speaker Madigan on Tuesday offered to support new and extended toll roads in northeastern Illinois that would service the mostly Republican suburbs around Chicago and would cost more than $1 billion.
The speaker also dropped his condition that the state take over the Chicago-Calumet Skyway, which defaulted on $101 million of revenue bonds in 1963, in exchange for the tollroads, according to Mr. Brown.