* 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.
* Millions of dollars for racetracks tied up in court battle