Springfield Casino? A Businessman Likes The Odds

May 22, 2017

Credit NPRIllinois

As state lawmakers again consider expanding the number of casinos in the state, Springfield could wind up in the mix. 

Through the years, the home of state government has rarely been part of the discussion when it comes to adding casinos. 

But a lobbyist and Springfield businessman, Chris Stone, says it's the right time to have one downtown.

“It's not just to have a casino downtown, but to have a casino downtown where 50 percent of the, I'm going to call it the privilege tax which is the gaming tax, comes back to the city in various forms,” he said.  

Stone says it would financially benefit local schools, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the city's convention center, fairgrounds and infrastructure. 

He also estimates it would bring 600-800 jobs. 

Springfield has shown an appetite for gambling, hosting the most video terminals in the state.  Stone admits a casino could cut into that business. 

Several communities, including Chicago, are mentioned as part of gambling legislation being debated at the statehouse.  Stone said if the plan to add Springfield is unsuccessful this time around, he expects it will come back for consideration again.  

Stone has previous experience working in state government.  He is also the CEO of HCI Alternatives, a medical marijuana dispensary, and owns video gambling parlors.