To The Herald-Whig:
The governor of Illinois is looking over the huge gambling expansion in SB 744 which he agrees is excessive. He said at the outset of his term that he did not believe gambling was a stable form of revenue.
This bill would create 12 new casinos -- in Chicago, Danville, Rockford, Lake County, south suburbs of Chicago, and at seven racetracks, including the state fairgrounds. Additional slots will be at O'Hare and Midway airports. It quickens the process to allow video gambling in communities to begin without strict gaming board investigation and oversight.
Gov. Quinn wants to hear from the citizens of Illinois on this. I think it is important to realize that the reason our lawmakers passed this bill so quickly is the huge windfall of cash that comes from the cost of the licenses. That may seem to be a huge help in the first year at least to fund many needed projects. But can such revenue be sustained? If the past decades (centuries) show anything, it shows that gambling is not a reliable, long-term revenue source and that it ends up hurting people who have the least to spend on such a "sport." When you get a windfall the first year, but end up spending billions on the following years cleaning up the problems gambling has caused, what has been gained?
Those of you out there who still read and hear the truth on this subject will hopefully respond to the governor's offer to listen to the people on this issue. I hope that enough time has been given to truly get the word out, including those like myself who were out of state last week watching grandchildren. And I pray that Gov. Quinn will sincerely evaluate this bill in the light of the truth that gambling does not help state economy, but instead hurts private citizens who could use what money they have in the local stores and businesses in their communities, and have something to show for their spending.
We must realize that one thing legislators love to use as an excuse for voting a certain way is, "I had very few calls on this so I assume it is OK to vote in this way." May God help us that we not let our leaders down by being status quo citizens. I am asking the governor to veto SB 744 entirely. You may reach the governor and voice your concern by calling one of these phone numbers: (312) 814- 2121, (217) 782-0244 or (800) 642-3112.