The question has been asked, “Is the time right for gaming expansion?” Wealthy track owners want to legalize video gambling and slot machines to transform racetracks into land-based casinos. During these trying economic times, the last thing Illinois needs is 6,600 more gambling machines.
Electronic gambling machines were legalized at Pennsylvania racetracks a few years ago. Now the slot revenue comes from local low rollers–people who live within 20 miles of the facility and gamble several times a week.
Gambling is an unstable source of revenue that has never solved any of the state’s funding problems. “There is growing evidence that state-sponsored gambling is both inequitable and inadequate as a long-term revenue source–and that the associated social costs of encouraging destructive gambling behavior may offset much of the revenue gains enjoyed by states in the short run,” according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Last year, the Legislature passed the largest expansion of gambling in the history of Illinois. Now is not the time for more gambling.
Anita Bedell, Executive Director
Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems
From the March 24-30, 2010 issue