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posted: 5/12/2013 4:40 AM

Gambling expansion an awful idea

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Gambling expansion an awful idea

Last year Governor Quinn vetoed a bill to expand gambling in the state of Illinois for the second time. The legislature is again trying to pass a gambling expansion bill that some hope will meet his approval.

It has passed the Senate. Should this latest effort reach the governor's desk, it should be vetoed for the following reasons.

First, it is not sound fiscal policy to use gambling as a way of supporting a budget for state services. At best, this is irresponsible due to the uncertainty of the revenue stream.

Second, gambling has been shown by studies and anecdotal evidence to create many kinds of social problems among those who can least afford to participate. This social cost, broken families, bankruptcies, etc., is far more devastating than any budgetary benefits from the gambling proceeds.

Third, we already have more than enough avenues available for those who must participate, i.e., lottery, casinos, race tracks, etc. The pie is only so big. Any additions merely split the profits among more participants.

Fourth, as presently constructed, the pending legislation panders to special interest groups in an effort to obtain their votes for passage. According to one media report, after increased horse racing purses and maintenance of botanic gardens "additional money would go toward a state education fund." This is the lottery justification (scam) déjà vu.

For these and many other reasons government should not rely on gambling as a key element in its budget. It should be responsive to all of its citizens and resist the efforts of those with a vested interest in gambling expansion.

I urge the House to not pass such a bill. If passed, I urge Gov. Quinn to again veto the bill.

Royce M. Blackwell


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