The likelihood of a gaming bill passing in Illinois just got a lot less likely. SB1849 went down to defeat in the House garnering only 58 votes out of the 118 member house, falling two votes short of passage and well below the 71 votes necessary to provide a veto proof bill if Governor Quinn vetoes the legislation. It was always feared that a change in the legislation would lose votes and that is certainly what happened here. Speaker Lang has reserved his right to bring the bill back up for a vote today and has extended the veto session an additional day, next Monday to work on this bill. Where the speaker was working on obtaining the 71 votes, at this point he is hoping for a simple majority.
While things look grim, they are not dead yet. Clearly the racetracks will not be taken out of the legislation as it will result in the lose of votes downstate so whether it succeeds or fails, the racetracks will not be sacrificed. If this bill does not pass, Chicago does not get its own casino, something Mayor Rahm Emanuel desperately wants. However, even assuming speaker Lang gets his two votes and the Senate goes along with it (assuming they extend their session), it will take a last minute change of heart by Governor Lang to let this bill get past his veto pen.
But we should be realistic, even if a bill gets through the legislature, the odds of the bill becoming law is 99-1. Racing better get ready for big defeat.