Municipal officials in both Lansing and South Holland have long been on the record as saying they are not interested in a casino, but they are more than willing to share in the profits if one is built in a nearby community.
Lansing Village President Norm Abbott said while he is concerned about potential public safety problems if a casino is built nearby, he is pleased with revenue sharing discussions.
Calumet City, Dolton and Lynwood are touting themselves as sites for a potential casino.
“My community could get a portion of the revenues, although I realize some communities are more in need of money from a casino than others,” said Abbott.
Abbott is an at-large member of the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association board, which says all 43 of its member communities should get a share of casino revenues, regardless of where a casino is located.
“I’m a supporter of their effort to make sure every community gets a portion,” said Abbott, who in the past has said casino revenues would be used to bolster the police department’s response to a potential increase in crime caused by a casino.
Lansing’s opposition to casinos goes back to before Abbott’s time in office. Former Village President Dan Podgorski also was a critic of gambling, saying he believed it attracted increased crime and other social problems. South Holland officials have maintained opposition to a casino as well, saying a casino is not suited for their residential community.
Attorney Timothy Lapp, who serves as village attorney for Lansing and South Holland, said officials are monitoring the casino issue, which would require approval by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat Quinn before casino siting discussions could begin.
“If there is money out there to be derived, South Holland would want to be sure it gets a share,” Lapp said. “The village would use it to benefit our public safety needs.”
Abbott was among the few south suburban municipal leaders who did not attend a Monday night Illinois House of Representatives’ hearing on casinos and gambling in Tinley Park. Former Lansing Municipal Airport manager Robert Malkas was in attendance.
Malkas used a public comment portion of Tuesday’s Village Board meeting to report his impressions of the hearing to the trustees, while also asking Abbott about the revenue sharing concept.
“If the money is made available (to Lansing), we should take the money,” Malkas said.