Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Expand gaming to Springfield?
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Expand gaming to Springfield?

Thursday, Dec 20, 2007

* Mayor Davlin mentioned this idea to me a week ago, but it didn’t seem like it was going anywhere, although Davlin was very hot on the concept…

[Rep. Raymond Poe], a Springfield Republican, is pushing the idea of holding harness races — and the betting that goes with them — at the Illinois State Fairgrounds beyond the limited run of the 10-day fair itself.

“The facility is there,” Poe said. “Someone could come in and make it work. I think it would be a great revenue source.”

Poe’s idea has already been raised in gaming discussions between House Minority Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego, and House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

“I brought it up with the speaker,” Cross said Wednesday. “It was not rejected.”

But neither is it on the front burner, Cross said. A number of other gambling issues have been on the table longer, and negotiators think they are closer to resolving those without injecting a new element into the debate.

The racing wouldn’t be year-round, but I’m wondering whether they’d put a year-round “racino” at the facility, with slot machines, etc. They could really upgrade the fairgrounds with revenue like that. Plus, it would give us somewhere else to go after long session days.

* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times editorial board comes out all the way for expanding gamling…

Experts will tell you gambling is a lousy way for the state to raise money. It’s not stable, doesn’t grow with the economy and isn’t progressive. But gambling is the only revenue-raising plan with a prayer of passing, and even then, it’s a long shot. Unfortunately, our hopes have to rest on a gambling boom to avert the CTA’s day of doom.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Princeville - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:50 am:

    I would think they’d have to add like the slots to make a go of just the race track. Moline use to have a decent horse track, but off track beating opened up and kinda spoiled it if I remember right and it ended up going under.

  2. - Anon - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    Having just horse racing at the fairgrounds wouldn’t work. Just look at the numbers produced during the fair and you can see there is not enough betting there to make ends meet. Those races are great prep races for the younger horses and are good way to showcase our breeding program in Illinios. Much the same as any other livestock except you get to bet on it. There is already an OTB in Springfield. But if they need it as an excuse to get slot machines then that is another matter and may make sense.

  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 11:52 am:

    We already have off-track betting in Springfield and other than Derby day it’s not exactly difficult to find a seat in the place.
    Is there that much more of an appetite for this kind of venture?
    That said, the prospects of state workers losing their paychecks to a racino at the state fairgrounds in order to improve state property and help balance the state budget their paychecks depend on is kinda hard to get the mind around.

  4. - Macbeth - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:02 pm:

    State workers, I assume, would be prohibited from gambling. Or would they?

    If anyone wants to read a great book on gambling — and gambling gone wrong — read ‘Double Down’ from Steve and Fredrick Barthelme.

    Long story short: they took nearly $250,000 from their parent’s inheritance, blew it on blackjack and slots in Mississippi casinos — and then (as if that’s not bad enough) were *indicted* on conspiring to cheat the casinos. Surveillance tapes (apparently) showed a dealer giving them “signals” (when to take an “insurance” bet specifically). Nevermind that insurance betting in blackjack is a no-no (and the brothers knew that.)

    Anyway, they didn’t know the dealer and didn’t get the signals she was (or perhaps wasn’t) giving. Eventually, they were acquitted of all charges.

    Point, though, is that apart from thinking of gambling as *gambling* — and not card-counting and not avoiding the slots, keno, and roulette — the book is a horrifying tale of addiction. And — as if *that’s* not bad enough — the book demonstrates how casino thugs (the bosses of the pit-bosses and the guys that work in parking garages next to the casinos in cinderblock “offices”) call the shots — and are able to do so based on sympathetic gaming commissions and DA’s looking to “clean up” in order to show the public that they — they meaning the gaming boards and DAs — are doing a good job.

    Sound familiar? Like a little CMS case a while ago?

    Anyway — the book is fantastic. Highly recommended reading — not just for the horrifying money spent gambling but to demonstrate how these gambling joints can *easily* abuse their power — and f#*k with innocent people.

    I’m on the record saying that I support gaming for poker — but that’s it. So I, too, am conflicted — but this book makes me a bit less conflicted — and bit more worried to think that Blagojevich and his corrupt friends may (or may not, fingers crossed) be in charge of this stuff.

  5. - Gregor - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 12:20 pm:

    Would conflict with the various motorsports held there, though I’m sure they’d work out the schedules.

    I can’t quite articulate this feeling I get, but it feels somehow “wrong” to me to change the emphasis of the fairgrounds to making racing a continuous year-round main line of business. It somehow to my mind completely changes the character of the fairgrounds in a dark way. Why I get this feeling, I don’t know, it doesn’t bother me that we have horse racing there during the fair, or that we allow betting on it. But maybe the context there is that it’s more like the completion of a circuit that was touring the state all summer, the “best of the best” exhibition kind of thing. Converting the fairgrounds track to all-season racing makes it feel somehow less “special” , less “sporting” and more crass to me.

    I know that’s not a very scientific or well-explained argument. It is my gut telling me there’s something about the whole thing it doesn’t like. Usually the gut is right: even if it can’t explain why, at some point it is always telling me “I told you so”.

  6. - He makes Ryan Look like a Saint - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:22 pm:

    I think it is a great idea. Get some lights on the track and they can do the races at night. There are only automobile and motorcycle races out there a few weekends a year outside the fair so that should not be a problem.

  7. - Sacks Romana - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:27 pm:

    Since our legislative leaders like gambling so much, I think we should expand slots directly to the state house. Instead of voting (or not) on issues, our representatives can use their own money on slots all day, and pay for education, mass transit, pensions, and the structural defecit.

    For Blagojevich, the slots can be specially installed at his Chicago residence, so he never has to leave or attend to state business again.

  8. - downstate hack - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 2:41 pm:

    Much as respect Ray Poe, I doubt whether it could ever work due to the economics.

  9. - You're Kidding, Right? - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 3:08 pm:

    “Expand gaming to Springfield?”

    Looks to me that between Blagoofy & the ‘alleged’ legislative ‘leaders’, they’ve already been gaming for months !

  10. - Doug Dobmeyer - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 3:49 pm:

    Oh give me a break - as Michelle Flarity tells - the myth of so many gamblers dying to spend their money is just that, a myth.

    The only saving grace about horse racing is the animal is beautiful and graceful. Maybe that is why Bob Molaro likes horse racing so much or maybe its the campaign contributions he gets.

    Doug Dobmeyer
    Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago

  11. - countryboy - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 4:32 pm:

    Our legislators do not “like gambling so much…”
    Corruption is very expensive…
    After 30 years of our head in the sand…
    Illinois is financially headed for the wall.

    Nobody has the t.v. to match expenses to revenue, or vice versa, so the back door default of “give ‘em more casinos” keeps popping up. Its a legislature that’s bankrupt of ideas and/or will, on the way to a state in the same straits. Don’t worry about the Vegas of the Midwest - we’ll be in receivership first…

  12. - Cassandra - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 7:38 pm:

    I want to believe the CTA and RTA need a money infustion, not least to preserve the jobs of thousands of politically connected Democratic lifers, but I can’t help but wonder if our state government, if pushed to the wall, isn’t going to find some more money in there somewhere.

    We taxpayers need to hold out. The money is there.
    Or some of it is there. It’s a negotiation, and we don’t have to lose (via taxes or more sleazy gambling venues to enrich or pols and their pals)
    the whole game just yet.

  13. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 9:19 pm:

    Well, let’s just think way outside the box and put some slots and tables on that “romantic” little riverboat that Uncle Todd Renfrow wants to put on Lake Springfield. AA thinks Todd may have taken one upside the head from the Bird Whisperer to sign on to that goofy scheme. Besides, that boat looked like something Clark Griswold’s Cousin Eddie would have piloted in “National Lampoon’s Lake Geneva Summer Vacation.” A firetrap POS.

    As far as the fairgrounds, the Blago workers out there have already advised they’re too busy with the fair 10 days of the year to handle a 6 day rodeo; I’m sure a horse track “racino” is way beyond their capabilities.

  14. - Cal Skinner - Thursday, Dec 20, 07 @ 9:25 pm:

    On to Potterville.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* ILGOP pledges to "continue to oppose taxpayer funding of abortion"
* The Madigan PR campaign continues
* Climate change denier warns of mob violence if renewable energy is expanded
* Pritzker, Frerichs announce loan program for furloughed federal workers
* Today's quotable
* A twofer for Preckwinkle
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to this morning's edition
* Question of the day
* First Class all the way
* Manteno Veterans' Home tests show "low levels of Legionellosis"
* Pritzker signs EO committing Illinois to Paris Climate Agreement
* The Dome is leaking
* It's Time To Put Our Progressive Values Into Action
* More on Pritzker's HB40 EO
* Yeah, that'll work well
* Report: Ald. Solis recorded conversations with Ald. Burke
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller