In the Illinois General Assembly, lobbyists for the gambling equipment makers, casino management companies and the horse racing industry have renewed their enduring efforts to further damage our state via more expansion of gambling. The lobbyists, and those in the General Assembly whose votes they buy, do not care one whit about the social costs created by gamblers who cannot control themselves.
One source testified before the General Assembly that for each new revenue dollar flowing to the state from gambling expansion, government and social service agencies will incur more than three dollars in expenses needed to address the social problems caused by out-of-control gamblers.
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Particularly odious is Arlington Park's never-ending quest to place 1,200 slot machines at the track. They claim that this is necessary for them to compete in their industry.
In our free enterprise system, if a business cannot compete, it changes its business model or it goes out of business. Taxpayers and other organizations should not have to pay for the wreckage created by slots at the track to save Arlington from failure and to enrich the Kentucky millionaire owners of the track. If Arlington can't compete on its own merits, let it just fade into history like other iconic enterprises whose time passed them by.
If job creation/preservation is the aim of placing slots, there are more and better places to do that. The state would generate far more economic development with slots located at all struggling Penney's, Sears and Kmart stores. And, if four or five slots were placed at each Walgreens store, maybe its management wouldn't feel the need to flee to Switzerland.
But the better course of action is to stop gambling expansion and to shut down the state's voracious spending machine.
Charles F. Falk