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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 05:56 am

Downstate being used for Chicago’s gambling goals

Once again we are playing a game concocted by two suburban legislators acting as agents for Chicago’s mayor and out-of-state gambling bosses. They are determined to make citizens of Illinois patsies for the gambling industry. The game includes dangling a couple casinos in Rockford, Waukegan and Danville in order to bring necessary downstate support to a casino for the ultra-corrupt Chicago and a super-secret south suburban location.

These two legislators preach a gospel that the poor downstaters are suffering because they don’t have enough gambling halls to quench their thirst to lose money. The Illinois Gaming Board has proven that at an Illinois gambling hall the individual is almost always the loser.

But, the state is in the gambling business up to its eyeballs. The state and some local units of government have become dependent on gambling tax revenues. They can no longer envision government existing without depending on gambling support. This has caused some good legislators to support more casinos. They unfortunately don’t have the political ability to say no to leaders who demand their vote on more casinos.

During November 2012 the average for the state was a loss of $101 for the 1.2 million casino customers in Illinois. Downstate the loss ranged between $70 in Rock Island to $134 in Metropolis. The Chicago suburbs ranged between $96 and $133 per player. State loss averages in 2012 have ranged between $92 and $107 each month. The years going back to the beginning of casinos show the same thing – the House is always the winner.

Simply put, there are a few winners followed by a whole lot of losers to make that average $101 loss per Illinois customer. Remember gambling is all about the money, money for the gambling bosses. If the bosses lost on average $101 per customer, they would close up shop. It’s all about the money for them, not for you, the customer, reaching for a whimsical win.

You can follow the losses each month on the excellent Illinois Gaming Board’s website, www.igb.illinois.gov/revreports/default.aspx. The column marked AGR documents the monthly losses by Illinois’ 10 casino locations.

Now, once again, we prepare to play this treacherous game with the legislature. Pro-gambling groups want a Chicago casino. A casino that will do one thing – separate people from their money. Casinos pump millions of dollars in campaign contributions to ward bosses, legislative leaders and greedy politicians. Sometimes the money is used to defeat bills that promote unwanted competition. But more often the money is used to foster more and more casinos.

Currently the legislature is in an awful state over trying to pass a bill that would flood the state with casino gambling. The greedy proponents want to create a slave gambling society from Chicago to East St. Louis. In 1999 Chicago and other locations opted out of the original 10 casinos established in Illinois. Soon after that, Chicago pleaded, begged, cajoled and tried to force the legislature to give them a casino.

They failed for 24 years. Now, with a very weak Gov. Pat Quinn in office, they are on the verge of winning. Winning with suburban and downstate support is the name of the game. Chicago provides about 40 percent of the political muscle for a casino. They are dependent on suburban and downstate support for the balance of the muscle. Downstate holds passage of more casinos in their hands.

It seems so simple. Why would good people want to lose their money to questionable gambling corporations at the behest of elected pols from a very corrupt city?

Doug Dobmeyer, spokesperson for the Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago, has been a leader in the opposition to a Chicago casino for the past 24 years. He is a former Springfield lobbyist for low-income citizens.
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