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Going over the top

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

* One thing you can always count on with gaming bills is hyperventilating from opponents of all stripes

A video gambling bill strongly opposed by state regulators advanced in a House committee today and now awaits a vote that could send it to the governor.

The state’s top gambling regulator predicted House lawmakers would pass the legislation, which he said would give amnesty to operators who have illegally operated video poker machines in bars for years.

“It’s a disaster,” said Aaron Jaffe, chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. “I have no idea all the power plays that are going on down there (Springfield) right now, but I can tell you that they are all listening to the wrong people.”

As we’ve already discussed, Jaffe views tavern owners and places like VFWs who have “amusement only” video poker machines and have paid out as dangerous mob-connected criminals. That’s why he thinks this bill is a “disaster.” The bill requires a felony conviction before a tavern owner or facility operator can be denied a license to have the new, regulated video poker machines. “Disaster” is a bit much. More

The problem for regulators is that in most cases. the owners of bars and even some of those rounded up in video gambling raids are never convicted. Many could plead guilty to lesser crimes that don’t fall under the gambling statutes. And bar owners, in particular, often face only a fine from the state’s liquor control commission.

Illinois Gaming Board Administrator Mark Ostrowski said the changes would make it essentially impossible to deny applications based on past instances of illegal machine use. He said convictions are rare.

But state Rep. Lou Lang, a Skokie Democrat sponsoring the proposal, said the Gaming Board brought this provision on itself by having vague regulations in this area.

Lang said the board’s stance was new violations would disqualify someone but past violations “may keep” someone from getting a license. He considered that inconsistent.

* Speaking of over the top

Expect more unemployment, crippled charities and crumbling infrastructure throughout Kane County if Arlington Park is allowed to have slot machines.

Wow. The end of the world cometh.

* Related…

* Millions of dollars for racetracks tied up in court battle

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    Rich I know a lot of Horse Trainers that have moved a majority of their operations out of the state due to the lack of purses. New Jersey, Penn. New York have much higher purses per race. What the trainers are telling me is if they don’t put Slots at the tracks, the industry will die in this state. I have a hard time doubting if slots at the few horse tracks in the state will cause too much problems for the Riverboats.

  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    So much for believing that legalizing horse racing bets and having a state lottery would bring enough loot for Illinois.

    Because of how it is ran, government is proof that crime doesn’t pay.

    Yeah - bring on more gaming, that’s the ticket!

  3. - Ghost - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 10:50 am:

    I though they passed or were about to pass a bill to put video gaming in truck stops (where it already exists)

  4. - dupage dan - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    There is an easy solution - just force anyone boarding a riverboat casino in Illinois to place a $2 bet at the racetrack. Call it a horsetax.

  5. - Avy Meyers - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    Lang saying “the Gaming Board brought this provision on itself by having vague regulations in this area” is total nonsense from a man whose D2’s show his campaign coffers are filled by the gambling industry and not the residents of his district.

    Why wouldn’t Lang want to make sure people who have been conducting illegal gambling, likely with Mob ties, are kept out of state sanctioned gambling permanently.

    There is no excuse for allowing it.

  6. - Lou Lang - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 11:54 am:

    Just for the record, the Gaming Board has ALL THE TOOLS IT NEEDS under current statutes to keep mob influence out of the gaming industry. The fact that they have done it so well for over 20 years attests to that fact. The Board has VERY broad discretion to deny licensure to anyone they deem questionable and the APPLICANT has the burden of proving suitability to the Board’s satisfaction. The bill does not change this in any way.

  7. - What? - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 12:10 pm:

    Didn’t this bill pass House Executive last night - May 24th?

  8. - Lou Lang - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 1:13 pm:

    Passed out of committee on a vote of 9-2

  9. - Avy Meyers - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 1:19 pm:

    Thank you for the response Rep. Lang. With all due respect, I will disagree.

  10. - Elliot Ness - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 1:47 pm:

    Are the video poker regs already written? If not, the only regs are those of the Liquor Control Commission. Until the Video Poker legislation, the Gaming Board only regulated casinos.

  11. - JB - Tuesday, May 25, 10 @ 3:07 pm:

    What should be an automatic boot out of office is when they wont even call a bill to the floor for a vote when it has support and thousands of jobs are at stake. Not to mention an industry. Shame on Cullerton and Jacobs for not bringing SB 3146 in this week for a vote! You should be ashamed and resign! I just pray that the general public remembers you this fall!

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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