Leadership blinders in push for casino

The leadership of Rockford and Winnebago County is pushing hard for a casino in Rockford. They have enlisted the support of several groups and are now trying to convince Governor Pat Quinn that everyone in Rockford is “all in.” This is far from the truth. Many organizations and churches are not in favor of a Rockford casino.

The truth is that because Rockford has a deplorable economic development effort, our leaders will jump at anything that spells minimum-wage jobs without ever considering the consequences. The United States International Gambling Report says “casinos siphon money away from economies struggling to rebound, and saddle taxpayers with hefty, ongoing costs to battle crime and other social problems that gambling spawns.” This report confirms that legalized gambling cost taxpayers at least $3 for every dollar of theoretical benefits. “If you are dumping money into the slots, you are not spending money on cars, computers, refrigerators or education.”

If as much effort were devoted to luring well-paying manufacturing jobs to Rockford as attracting a casino, Rockford could again prosper. Rockford has enough problems that our leaders cannot seem to deal with; let’s not invite more with a casino.

Rolland W. Westra

From the Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2011, issue

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