*** UPDATE *** Wow…
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Illinois Gaming Board chairman Aaron Jaffe yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon summed up his opinion of the new Illinois gambling expansion bill this way:
“You can’t make perfume out of a pile of garbage.”
In a prepared statement read at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting in downtown Chicago, Jaffe, a retired state representative from Skokie and Cook County judge, charged that the new gaming bill is vague, massive, “very, very bad constitutionally” and could lead the state into years of litigation.
“This bill is not funded like video gaming is not funded,” added Jaffe. He said that if the bill remains in tact and Gov. Quinn gives his stamp of approval, the gaming board will need to double its manpower to adequately regulate the huge increase in state licensed gambling. […]
“I’d like to know how these areas were selected,” he said. “The board spent months on the 10th license location.” That 10th license is for the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Besides Chicago, the other four casinos are slated to be located in Rockford, Danville, Park City and a South suburb. He also questioned the wisdom of permitting Chicago-owned slot machines at O’Hare and Midway without gaming board oversight.
“No one should get a license without being fully vetted,” he said.
* The Chicago Crime Commission has a new poll which the group claims shows that Illinoisans oppose the new gaming bill. From a press release…
Voters in Chicago and throughout Illinois strongly oppose the gambling expansion bill recently passed by the Illinois legislature, according to a new survey commissioned by the Chicago Crime Commission. The survey also reveals that Illinoisans would veto the gambling legislation and ask for greater review of future proposals.
“Governor Quinn has said repeatedly that he wants to hear from anyone with an opinion on the gambling expansion issue and today voters from throughout Illinois responded to his request,” according to J.R. Davis, Chairman and President of the Chicago Crime Commission. “If the average voter could sit down with the Governor, they would tell him this legislation is bad for Illinois and that they had little input into the decision making process,” he added.
* But check out this question from the poll…
DO YOU SUPPORT OR OPPOSE THE GAMING LEGISLATION THAT HAS BEEN PASSED BY THE STATE LEGISLATURE THAT WILL GREATLY EXPAND GAMBLING AND CLAIMS TO BE THE ANSWER TO THE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS FACING ILLINOIS?
Hardly unbiaased. Nobody, for instance, claims that the bill is the “answer to the financial problems” facing the state.
And this next one, which asks for agree or disagree responses…
THE GAMING LEGISLATION THAT PROVIDES FOR MASSIVE EXPANSION OF GAMBLING, SUCH AS NEW CASINOS IN CHICAGO AND THE SUBURBS AS WELL AS SLOT MACHINES AT THE AIRPORTS AND RACETRACKS WILL BE HARMFUL TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ILLINOIS RESIDENTS.
* The poll was conducted by TelOpinion Research. I checked the pollster’s Web page…
Whether it was helping elect a Governor in Maine, a new Congressman in Louisiana or predicting the outcome of the United States Senate race in North Carolina, Tel Opinion Research had another successful year in helping elect Republicans throughout the United States.
Once again, Tel Opinion Research worked with Senate Republicans in North Carolina to help win the largest number of seats in North Carolina history and take control of the State Senate. We helped Illinois House Republicans structure their messages, and were in 66 congressional districts across the country.
I sure hope the Illinois House Republicans got better questions out of the pollster than these…
THE MONEY FROM TAXES ON CASINO GAMBLING THAT WILL END UP IN THE STATE’S TREASURY WILL NOT OFFSET THE HUMAN PROBLEMS AND NEGATIVE IMPACT ON SOCIETY THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH CASINO GAMBLING IN PLACES LIKE LAS VEGAS AND ATLANTIC CITY.
* This result, however, is useful. The question asked for right direction/wrong track in “your area of Illinois”…
* And so is this one. The question asked favorability ratings on the Illinois state legislature…
* In other gaming expansion developments, the Illinois Farm Bureau has published this press release on their website…
Leaders from the agricultural community gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to urge the Governor to sign SB 744, the gaming expansion bill, because of its many benefits to agribusiness.
Supporters said SB 744 includes an agricultural component to the legislation, which includes maximum annual funding in the following areas:
• $5 million for county fairs
• $10 million for soil and water conversation districts
• $4 million for Cooperative Extension – match 100% of local funds
• $1 million for the Forestry Fund for CREP Forestry Assistance Program
• $2.5 million for the State’s historic sites
• $2.5 million Transfers to Parks and Conservation Fund for operations costs
• $100,000 in equine research to Illinois public universities
“The gaming provisions at the at the State Fairgrounds included in SB 744 also establishes the Future of Agriculture Fund, which would direct funding through the Illinois Department of Agriculture to county fairs, the Illinois Association of FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) and the University of Illinois Extension 4-H programs. These programs are vital to fostering young’s people’s interest in agricultural careers,” explained Margaret Vaughn, Government Affairs Director for the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs (IAAF), who worked towards the passage of SB 744.
* I grew up going to the Iroquois County Fair every year, and Marvin Perzee has been running that fair for as long as I can remember. Marvin wants the gaming bill passed…
Marvin Perzee lives an hour and a half from Chicago, Danville and the other proposed casinos in Illinois, but as president of the Iroquois County Fair, he is one of the biggest supporters of gambling expansion in the state.
Perzee and a handful of other downstate, county fair officials visited the Capitol on Tuesday to tell Gov. Pat Quinn to sign the recently approved casino legislation.
Perzee said gambling in Chicago would pay for his fair in tiny Watseka.
“Now we’re all in trouble financially, and we need a dedicated source of monies,” said Perzee.
Lawmakers designed the gambling expansion to pump money from the new casinos and other gambling venues into Illinois’ beleaguered horse-racing industry. Money from the horsemen and horse tracks is then pumped back into the state budget and spent on local county fairs.
Perzee said that money is then spent in local communities.
The fair’s address may be Watseka, but it’s closer to the far tinier Crescent City. Going to that fair is like stepping back in time. Anyway, if Perzee is for the gaming bill, then you know that other ag interests are fully on board.
* Steve Brubaker, a lobbyist for the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association, has some advice for Gov. Quinn about how to “fix” the gaming bill…
Brubaker did have some logical, if somewhat cynical, strategic advice on how Quinn might use his amendatory veto to reduce the scope of the bill, and still get those changes through the Legislature: By only angering the lawmakers who voted “no” the first time.
Part of the bill would allow the expansion of existing casinos like the Casino Queen. That part was put in there to try to get lawmakers from existing casino communities on board, but it mostly didn’t work. Metro East lawmakers and others representing casino areas mostly voted against the bill, because the existing casinos don’t want competition from new casinos and “racinos” at the horse tracks.
So by gutting the provision that allows existing casinos to expand, Quinn could claim to have scaled back the legislation, and the only lawmakers he’d lose in the approval vote are those were already opposed anyway. As Brubaker put it: “What, are they going to vote, ‘No, no!’?”
* Rockford Casino Not a Sure Bet
* Cities hope for casinos to help economies
* Is a Chicago casino, and nothing else, realistic?