Friday April 12, 2013 : ILLINOIS ONLINE GAMBLING PROPOSAL IGNITES DEBATE
Politicians clash in Illinois Senate discussion
A proposal by Illinois Senator Terry Link to include online gambling legalization in a state land gambling expansion plan ignited a robust exchange between Link and the chairman of the state Gaming Board, Aaron Jaffe this week.
The two have a history of differing opinions and media exchanges, and went at it over ethical concerns and the inclusion of online gambling, reported the Chicago Tribune.
“We’ve waited a long time for this meeting to take place,” Link told Jaffe. “I’ve heard myself being criticized on TV, radio, everywhere else by you, judge.”
Jaffe did not back down, at times pointing a finger directly at Link and firing back: “I would say that you have attacked me more times than I have attacked you. You have been absolutely atrocious in that regard.”
Jaffe's objection to the land and online gambling expansion plan is that the proposals do not carry sufficient ethical safeguards in his opinion. Senate President John Cullerton and others sought to diffuse the situation by analysing Jaffe's views and trying to find a way forward.
Jaffe claimed all regulatory authority for his Gaming Board, which means state regulators would have to sign off on even construction contracts and vendors in a Chicago land casino. He complained that the current proposal under discussion was, at 550 or more pages, too cumbersome and difficult to assimilate.
The Gaming Board chairman may also be concerned about a provision in the proposal that would remove the current members of the Gaming Board. “Why would they want to remove everybody on the Gaming Board?” he asked, saying the board has gone from one of the nation’s worst to its best.
He was supported in that by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who does not like the inclusion of online gambling legalization in the proposal anyway, and feels that the Gaming Board has done a good job.
Quinn has twice vetoed major gambling expansion bills lawmakers have sent to him, citing ethical concerns.
At the conclusion of the exchanges Sen. Link said that he intends to leave Internet gambling in the legalization but would remove the provision that would fire the board.
The debate continues.