Rockford uses targeted ads for gaming expansion, lawmakers still in talks about issue

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Rockford business leaders are using a new strategy to reach lawmakers in Springfield about bringing a casino to Rockford.

“I would say this is the deepest dive we’ve ever done,” Einar Forsman, the President and CEO of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce says.

Part of the new strategy includes targeted social media advertisements. The Chamber says those ads are designed to pop up on your social media feed if you in your 20s to 40s and are in the Rockford or Springfield area.

Those advertisements then ask residents to call their lawmaker and the governor to say they want a casino to come to the Stateline.

“There’s an estimated $50 to $60 million in new tax revenue that would come to this region,” Forsman says.

Right now, local lawmakers say they are in talks with Gov. JB Pritzker about what the legislation for gaming expansion would look like.

“The governor has been pushing for a sports betting only package,” Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford says.

Syverson says that proposal would not include a casino. That’s why him along with Sen. Steve Stadelman says several lawmakers in Springfield are pushing for a more comprehensive gaming expansion bill.

“A number of people here in the Senate have signed a letter to the governor saying that we will not support a narrow bill,” Stadelman says. “We want a comprehensive bill.”

13 News reached out to the governors office to see where he stands with gaming expansion.

Pritzker’s spokesperson told 13 News, “The governor believes we must responsibly legalize sports betting so that Illinois doesn’t lose out on revenue from this newly authorized market, especially as other states move forward. As discussions with working groups continue in Springfield, the administration also looks forward to proposals from the General Assembly on additional gaming measures that create consensus and increase revenue for the state.”

Andi TenBarge

Andi TenBarge

Reporter

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