Expanding gambling is a failed and flawed solution that does not work

Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems (ILCAAAP) leads the statewide coalition to oppose the expansion of gambling and support the strict regulation of gambling. We were glad to learn that Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) does not gamble and that he sees the problems gambling has brought. So, we pray that his actions will be the best for Illinois and for the people of our state.

Although former Gov. Pat Quinn (D) vetoed two massive gambling bills, he left behind a legacy of gambling expansion. The legalization of video gambling expanded the number of slot machines from 10,000 at 10 casinos by an additional 19,000 machines operating in nearly 4,700 neighborhood casinos statewide. Internet gambling on the Lottery and horse racing (Advanced Deposit Wagering), and privatization of the Lottery also were approved under the former governor. Illinois residents are now gambling and losing millions of dollars every month.

Gambling is an unstable source of revenue that has not and cannot solve Illinois’ budget crises. For every dollar gambling interests indicate is being contributed in taxes, it usually costs taxpayers $3 in social welfare, criminal justice, and regulatory costs.

Gov. Rauner wants to clean up Illinois and try a new approach. ILCAAAP encourages the governor and his administration to look for workable and fresh ideas, and recognize that expanding gambling is a failed and flawed solution that does not work.

Anita Bedell, Executive Director
Illinois Church Action on Alcohol & Addiction Problems
Springfield, Illinois

From the Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2015, issue

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