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|Don't Bet On New Casinos in Illinois
|Those who were looking forward to relaxing at a slot machine while betting on horses, or those excited about a gigantic land-based casino in Chicago will have to wait. An attempt by State Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) to expand gambling in Illinois was two votes shy of passing Friday. Link put the measure on postponed consideration, which means he'll likely bring it back for a vote before lawmakers adjourn for the summer.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) has in his district Jumers Riverboat Casino in Rock Island, which opened 18 years ago. While the overall consensus at the time was that a riverboat casino would be the worst thing to happen to that city, Jacobs says it has created jobs, infused money into the local economy and promoted tourism, which is why he's such a staunch supporter of expanded gambling in the state. Jacobs says in these rough economic times, the state must raise money any way it can, and he worries that no gambling expansion will surely mean steep tax hikes.
Link says those against gambling who want to do away with it completely don't understand how much money it generates. He says unlike an income tax hike, gambling is optional, yet still generates a lot of money. He says if you get rid of casinos, you'll also have to get rid of the lottery, raffles, bingo, etc.
He says he understands that a lot of people suffer from gambling addictions, but he says they'll find places to go whether there's legal gambling in the state or not. What's more, he says a lot of money for state-supported addiction treatment programs comes from gambling revenues.
Despite impassioned pleas from many Senate Democrats, S.B. 744 would have failed 28-28-1 had Link not postponed consideration.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|05 23 09 by Newsroom
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