Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago speaks out

Why is the private sector joining with a few government leaders receiving large campaign contributions from gambling companies in seeking radical expansion of gambling in Illinois in 2011? This year represents an economy out of control with many people suffering the effects of a sustained recession. Unemployment is rampant, foreclosures occur too often, and young people face an uncertain future.

Now, the private-sector gambling owners are teaming up with a few state legislators and other political leaders to push radical expansion gambling in Illinois, including the first of what will be many casinos in Chicago.

The Illinois General Assembly passed last spring S.B. 744, the latest gambling expansion bill establishing casinos in Chicago, Park City (near Waukegan, Danville, Rockford and an undisclosed location in south Cook County). In addition, slots at Illinois tracks and expanding slots at the existing 10 casinos are slated to occur. The proposed bill will receive a final yes or no from Governor Quinn in early September.

Gambling owners are doing very well. Since 2000, the gambling companies have made between $82 and $119 per admission in gross receipts. Admissions last month bolstered by the new Des Plaines casino were almost 1.5 million people. Last month’s gross revenue was $92 per admission. State and local government take their tax cut from the gross revenues.

Do not fret for the private-sector gamblers; they are doing very well, indeed! But expansion will allow them to do even better at the public’s expense in the middle of a massive recession. Think about that … how un-American is that attitude? Make more profits from the economically-wounded citizens — that’s you.

Gambling companies will never be satisfied with whatever expansion will be offered to them. Next year or in five or 10 years, they will be back for more with their willing partners, tax-hungry local and state government. The answer to the question of radical expansion comes down to public- and private-sector greed.

The Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago has asked Governor Quinn to do the right thing and veto S.B. 744, a very bad public policy move.

Doug Dobmeyer
Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago

From the Aug. 17-23, 2011, issue

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