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*** UPDATED x1 - Jaffe blasts gaming bill *** Beware pollsters bearing gifts

Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011

*** UPDATE *** Wow

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.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* 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!’?”

* Related…

* Rockford Casino Not a Sure Bet

* Cities hope for casinos to help economies

* Is a Chicago casino, and nothing else, realistic?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

37 Comments
  1. - Palatine - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:17 am:

    I spent many summers on my grandpa’s pig farm growing up. My families vacation’s are primarly designed around going to county fairs, to show my kids what it’s like to be a farmer. We always go to the 4-H show. I support them, however to fund these programs with ganbling money is very short sited. I don’t think it’s a good idea to expand gambling.


  2. - Robert - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:22 am:

    My evidence is purely anecdotal from visiting casinos about once every other month, but I don’t understand the link between casinos and crime.

    (1) there usually is plenty of security in a casino and in the parking lots around the casino
    (2) casino patrons tend to be quite old - maybe grandma’s packin’ heat in case she needs to score her next slot machine fix?
    (3) organized crime is already involved in slot machines/video poker in bars throughout Chicago. more legal competion would seem to mean less organized crime to me.


  3. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    This year, the legislative leaders doled out over $100M to members to use as they please. Other than this being a sin in and of itself, why can’t the members program some of their mad money to their local fairs. Why attach any specific spending to the casino bill, can’t these “lawmakers” vote without being bribed? The money from the casino bill (if any) should go to paying down our debt, or funding pensions. But I guess since the casino bill only earmarked $25M, it’s a drop in the bucket anyway. Certainly we don’t need that money.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    Authorizing the expansion doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all going to happen. It would still be private investors putting up the money for the new casinos and slots.

    As we’ve seen, bar owners around the state aren’t exactly clamoring to get their video poker games going.


  5. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:36 am:

    What is the reason to doubt the CC poll? Is it perhaps because one is predisposed to like the expansion of gambling?

    Every time the voters have been presented the opportunity to express an opinion regarding the expansion of gambling they vote NO.


  6. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:47 am:

    “As we’ve seen, bar owners around the state aren’t exactly clamoring to get their video poker games going.”

    That’s because after almost two years the State has not finalized the rules and regs.


  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    ===What is the reason to doubt the CC poll?===

    Look at the wording, dude. C’mon. That’s not unbiased wording by anyone’s measure except an extreme partisan.


  8. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:05 am:

    –That’s because after almost two years the State has not finalized the rules and regs.–

    And meanwhile, those with illegal machines are content with the status quo. That’s why you’re not hearing yelling to get it done.


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    The Rules and Regs are pretty much done. The IGB won’t be moving forward on video gaming until the Supremes weigh in on the pending case. Why start licensing people if it’s going to be found unconstitutional? Why allow companies and individuals to invest more time and $$$$ if it’s not going to happen? Sure they could go forward but then they’d be gambling.
    Also, the Legislature in its infinte wisdom failed to fund the IGB to hire people to do the work on video gaming. They’re still short-staffed and it takes forever to hire people.
    Plus the big question everyone avoids. Lets say video poker is found legal (*that’s 60,000 machines right there) and then Quinn signs off on the gambling expanision (another 36,000 machines. We’ll have gambling everywhere. Do people really want that? I’m no prude but that does sound over-saturated to me. Oh yeah, there’s no added funding for the IGB to hire staff to almost expand its responsibilities ten-fold. Do some people want this to be a poorly regulated expansion?


  10. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    Yes, there are people who want poorly regulated expansion because they really don’t care about good regulatory oversight of the gambling as long as the state gets some money. Maybe, a certain percentage of gambling revenues should be directed straight to the gaming board for oversight.


  11. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:48 am:

    Partisan? You’re kidding me. You can water down the questions all you want, but the voters vote no when given the chance to do so. Why would one expect them to have a more positive sentiment in a poll.

    Actually the negative sentiment appears to be against this legislation, which many people have criticized as being too expansive. It is such a piece of political sausage that a number of pro gambling folks I know are against the bill.


  12. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:54 am:

    Plutocrat03, say what you want, but you are denying the harsh reality that this is a completely biased poll.


  13. - Bill - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 11:55 am:

    ==bar owners around the state aren’t exactly clamoring to get their video poker games going.==

    Anyone who wants games already has them and they’ll do a lot better with those than any regulated by the state. They just have to make sure they pay when the “rent”comes due. Why go through more hassle for less profit?


  14. - Doug Dobmeyer - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:04 pm:

    Aaron Jaffe offers some sound words that people should listen too and heed.

    In a normal world lots of questions would be asked and answered before a policy is even considered being adopted. The political world of Illinois seems to exclude and look down on questions being asked.

    Here are ten questions that any person would want to know the answers about gambling expansion:

    The Task Force to Oppose Gambling for Chicago in examining a possible Chicago casino has developed serious questions that we believe should be publicly answered before any vote is held on a casino expansion bill in Springfield:

    1.) Given Chicago’s estimate of a $537 million budget shortfall what is the cost and capability of the city to pay the estimated $300 to $400 million upfront costs to the state to develop a casino?

    2.) Would the city have to float a bond to cover those costs?

    3.) If the city did float a bond what would be the obligation of taxpayers for repaying such a bond?

    4.) Given Chicago has no experience owning a casino, what is necessary in terms of management capacity to accomplish that work?

    5.) Who would supervise a casino for the city?

    6.) What will be the true costs of management, including treatment of addicted gamblers, law enforcement and oversight that include steps that will assure the public of an honest casino?

    7.) What are the impediments to holding a referendum with the voters on a Chicago casino?

    8.) What are the details of the exact terms of Mayor Emanuel’s plan for city ownership of a Chicago casino?

    9.) The last Chicago casino expansion bill contained provisions that excluded the media from contact with aldermen on the casino issue if Chicago attained a gambling venue. What is the position of media organizations with such bill language? and

    10.) Where does Mayor Emanuel intend to locate a Chicago casino if one is to be awarded to Chicago?


  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:04 pm:

    I’m guessing that Jaffe and Lou Lang don’t have a regular tee-time together at Birchwood.


  16. - whetstone - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:05 pm:

    @Robert:

    “I don’t understand the link between casinos and crime”

    The theory’s pretty simple: if you have a business that’s predicated on people losing money, they’ll lose money, and will turn to crime to get money. Furthermore, if people go broke because of the casinos, that causes stress, and that leads indirectly to crime (drinking, abuse, etc).

    The most substantial study I’ve seen is from Earl Grinols, who used to teach at the U of I and is now at Baylor; he co-authored a study called “Casinos, Crime, and Community Costs,” and subsequently wrote a book on the topic.

    And what he found was pretty interesting: violent crime (though not murder) jumps in casino counties (he looked at county-level data) after a time lag. Which makes sense–it takes awhile for people to go broke and/or become problem gamblers.

    In and of itself, it’s not a reason to not have casinos. Obviously, we allow things to be legal that cause problematic behavior, like booze. But it’s a consideration, and Grinols’s data seems pretty good.


  17. - downhereforyears - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:12 pm:

    What bothers me the most is Chairman Jaffee’s comments about the bill. “You can’t make perfume out of a pile of garbage.” Say what you will about the IGB but most everyone will agree that they have done an excellent job of policing the gambling industry. Without additional staff the IGA would be taxed well beyond it’s capabilities.

    His other comment, “the new gaming bill is vague, massive, “very, very bad constitutionally” and could lead the state into years of litigation”. Is anyone really paying attention on the 3rd floor. The bill was written by the industry, not onw single word of input from the IGB.


  18. - bored now - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:23 pm:

    i don’t like gambling in the first place — and i certainly don’t want to see gambling down here in the south suburbs where there are so many corrupt local officials — so i am slow to comment, but jaffe has a point. oversight needs to be beefed up, especially if they are bringing it down here into the south suburbs. they couldn’t possibly have enough people investigators on the gaming board to make me comfortable with this (again, given my methodist background, i’ll never be comfortable with it, but it would seem especially toxic down here in the south suburbs)…


  19. - Commonsense in Illinois - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:48 pm:

    Just wondering…where was Chairman Jaffe when the bill was being negotiated…last year…last five years….? Just a bit late to the dialogue if you ask me, and the Gaming Board really can’t say that their role is not to be involved in setting policy but is limited to enforcement. They have an obligation to help create legislation that is enforceable and administratively doable.


  20. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 12:55 pm:

    It appears Jaffee will continue with the slow footed approach to implementing state laws. Not a dime has been spent at the 10th license since the late 90’s…..not a dime has been spent on video poker in over 2 years….no one will get a new license until they are “vetted” by Jaffee’s gaming board…..the vendors for all the equipment have already been vetted…..Jaffe has always received the funding for manpower, etc. when it was needed.
    Those are all historical observations for all the hand wirngers out there.
    It is unlikely there will be any litigation as opposed to the nearly 15 YEARS involving the Silver Eagle license.


  21. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 1:29 pm:

    I like the way Brubaker thinks. My kind of advice.


  22. - Been There - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 1:33 pm:

    ===no one will get a new license until they are “vetted” by Jaffee’s gaming board===
    Jaffe and the other board members terms are up or almost up. I have no idea what Quinn plans to do with this board but it is in his hands to change it if he wants.


  23. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 1:50 pm:

    Caps Lock off, please…


  24. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 1:51 pm:

    it is garbage because too many pigs are at the trough…can anyone govern anything in this State?…all folks can think about is their piece of the action in an ever shrinking pie…


  25. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 1:57 pm:

    Loop Lady,

    And you have nailed the problem. Instead of concentrating how to grow wealth and increase the size of the pie by eliminating job-killing rules and regulations, our governmental leaders find any way possible to shrink the pie. Even here, where gaming could provide a needed boost in revenues, the bureaucracy is in the way.


  26. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    –Been There: The entire Board is now serving without appointment. Their terms have all expired! And to Commonsense, no one, not one legislator asked for the IGB’s input before this bill was introduced. It’s Legislative laziness which leads to lawsuits, like the suit which may derail the Video Poker legislation. It’s all poorly written, team efforts drafted by lobbyist.


  27. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 2:21 pm:

    Rich, is it true that all IGB appointments are expired?


  28. - Been There - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 2:39 pm:

    Loop Lady, according to what is on the Gaming Board web site, all of their terms have expired.

    http://www.igb.illinois.gov/aboutus/members.html

    I thought one of them was still in their appointment but it expired this summer. But unless the IGB site is wrong they can all be replaced now.


  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 2:58 pm:

    The IGB site is correct. Sullivan is gone though. He returned to the bench last month.


  30. - TwoFeetThick - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Nope, the IGB site is correct. The appointments are expired, though members serve until a replacement is appointed. The LRU has some rather large files on their website with all appointments. The relevant file is here:

    www.ilga.gov/commission/lru/B&CVol2a.pdf


  31. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 3:29 pm:

    Do you really expect a different result if the poll was to be redone? The voters might even be more strongly against the proposition.

    Historically the only ones who support the expansion of gambling are the media who will get new advertising dollars, institutions who get revenue distributions and gamblers. Regular folks not so much.


  32. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 3:52 pm:

    ===Do you really expect a different result if the poll was to be redone? The voters might even be more strongly against the proposition.===

    I highly doubt the opposition would be more intense. This poll was specifically designed to gin up opposition.


  33. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 4:54 pm:

    I agree the questions are heavy handed. However, I bet a poll with more neutral questions would produce the same results.


  34. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 4:54 pm:

    Pun intended!


  35. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 4:55 pm:

    ===However, I bet===

    Based on what? Other polls? Other polls show the exact opposite.


  36. - Plutocrat03 - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 5:56 pm:

    The heck with the polls. Look at the results of referendums where the question of gambling expansion was raised. Some precincts were over 75% no and no precincts I saw said yes.

    It is a fantasy to peddle voter approval for this kind of stuff.


  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 15, 11 @ 7:03 pm:

    I’ll bet there is some media company (Tribune) working on a poll right now. It’ll show the same thing. I do not believe other polls dealt with such a massive expansion. Plus, everyone keeps ignoring the fact that if the Supreme Court finds Video poke constitutional and Quinn signs off on this Legilsation, we’ll have gambling almost everywhere. That’ll kill the goose that laid the golden egg for sure!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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