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updated: 10/22/2010 10:22 PM

Lake County candidates differ on gambling

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  • Carol Calabresa

    Carol Calabresa

  • Delfino "Del" Parra

    Delfino "Del" Parra

  • David Serdar

    David Serdar


The candidates for the Lake County Board's District 15 seat differ on whether legalized gambling should be expanded in the area.

Republican incumbent Carol Calabresa opposes legalized gambling and was among the board majority that voted in 2009 to ban video gambling machines in unincorporated areas. Green Party candidate David Serdar doesn't want gambling expanded here, either.

Democratic challenger Delfino "Del Parra said he's open to expanded video and casino gambling but would like to learn more about the issue.

Calabresa, Serdar and Parra have spoken with the Daily Herald about gambling and other issues facing the county board, which also doubles as the county's forest preserve district board.

The 15th District serves the Libertyville area. All three candidates are from Libertyville.

Calabresa said she opposes video gambling and fought against riverboat gambling in Illinois.

"I do not believe government should be financed with gambling profits, she said.

Her issue with legalized gambling is economical.

"To propose a gambling casino in Waukegan in one of the lowest economic communities takes unfair advantage of that population, Calabresa said, referring to failed attempts to locate a casino in the county's biggest city. "Unfortunately, the people who gamble can least afford it.

She's also concerned legalized gambling results in an increase in crime.

Parra, who unsuccessfully challenged Calabresa in 2006, said he would consider expanding casino and video gambling here but also said he's "open to both positions.

"I'd like to see (potential) locations, he said. "I'd like to see success stories and also mistakes... and make an informed decision.

Parra said that, if he were on the county board at the time, he would have voted to outlaw video gambling in Lake County.

Serdar, a first-time candidate, opposes the legalization of gambling. Government shouldn't rely on revenue from such an "addictive pastime, he said.

"It's a terrible way to go, Serdar said. "Government needs to find revenue in different ways.

If he was on the board last year, Serdar said he would have voted to keep video gambling illegal in Lake County.

He said he would oppose creating more casino licenses in Illinois to add a riverboat in Lake County, but he acknowledged such an operation could bring much-needed jobs to the area.

Still, Serdar said he'd rather Lake County be known as an entertainment center with Six Flags Great America and other attractions than as a gambling destination.