Casinos, Tracks Urged to Unite Behind Gambling Expansion


State Senate President Emil Jones summoned more than 30 representatives of Illinois casinos and horse tracks to his Springfield office Thursday to tell them that a legislative push to massively expand gambling stands little chance of passing without them getting behind the effort, sources familiar with the gathering said.

Jones (D-Chicago) and Sen. Denny Jacobs (D-East Moline), an architect of riverboat gambling in Illinois, told casino and track lobbyists and executives, including Arlington Park’s Richard L. Duchossois, they “expected everybody to get on board,” a source said. Jones also stressed it was important to keep Chicago and the south suburbs in the gaming mix.

But even if the casino-horse rivalry that has contributed to the death of past gambling bills ends, the current legislation still appears on shaky ground. As more details emerged Thursday, it became clear there will be plenty of things for opponents to attack in the bill, which is designed to raise $1.8 billion for the cash-strapped state.

Venetian pitching Casino to Singapore officials

SINGAPORE — Officials with Las Vegas Sands Inc., which opened a $240 million casino in Macau this week, are in discussions with Singapore government officials about developing what would be the first casino in the city-state.

Las Vegas Sands, known for its Venetian Casino Resort in the U.S. gambling capital, is relying on its first casino in Macau to boost its reputation with gamblers in China, Singapore’s second- biggest source of tourists after Indonesia.

“Our primary selling point is we’re the gateway to China with Macau,” William Weidner, president of Las Vegas Sands, said in an interview in Singapore. “It’s from there that we can direct where the market goes.”

Singapore, which only allows lotteries and betting on horse- racing, is considering casinos as part of an island resort development in a bid to lure tourists and boost an economy that suffered two recessions in the past six years. The city has said it wants a casino catering to high-spending customers and would restrict access for some of its four million people.