* Two opposing views on gaming expansion. First up, Chuck Sweeny of the Rockford Register-Star…
Government doesn’t tell us what kind of movies we can see, where we can go out to eat, or what kind of band or orchestra music we can hear. It doesn’t say which communities can have bowling alleys and which can’t.
All these things are forms of entertainment, as is gambling. It should be the people’s choice. The current gambling laws are arbitrary. For instance, the state runs a lottery business that wastes Illinoisans’ time at gas station/convenience stores. Did you ever stand in line for 10 minutes to pay for gas, behind three people buying a combined total of 110 lottery tickets?
The state allows “charitable” bingo games and “charitable” casino nights. It allows 10 casinos to operate. It allows betting at horse racing tracks.
And now, the state is allowing bars, fraternal clubs and veterans’ groups to have legal gambling machines. (Many bars and clubs have gambling machines now, but any payoffs are made under the table.)
Why not just let the market decide how much and what kind of gambling Illinois should have? The market is efficient at sorting these things out. For instance, as Best Buy fumbles, but along comes h.h. gregg to take up the slack. K-mart slows, but Walmart grows. No politicians decided these things; shoppers did.
* Next, John Kass at the Tribune…
“When government put casinos in to raise revenue, they’re betting on their people to lose. When a government bets on you to lose, what does that say about the government?”
Whom do you agree with and why?
* Meanwhile, subscribers already have my take on this…
Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a major gambling expansion Tuesday, setting up a post-election session in which new casinos could be tied to reforms of the state’s out-of-whack government worker retirement system.
Buried deep in his veto message to lawmakers, the Democratic governor said legislators should shift their focus from slot machines to what he called “the most pressing issue of our time” — pension reform.
“Illinois cannot gamble its way out of our fiscal challenges,” Quinn wrote. “Even a casino on every street corner cannot repair the state’s $83 billion unfunded pension liability.”
For Quinn, a long-in-the-works gambling expansion provides potential leverage when the General Assembly returns to the Capitol at the end of November. If enough lawmakers want casinos and the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars to spend, Quinn could try to strike a deal in exchange for comprehensive cost-cutting to the state’s struggling pension systems.
* And this…
At least some horse racing officials are optimistic. In the past, Quinn has opposed slot machines at racetracks and indicated he’s not willing to compromise on it. That didn’t come up in his veto message Tuesday, and Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Michael Campbell doesn’t think the machines are off the table.
“The horsemen are grateful to the governor that he did not mention slots at tracks as something he finds objectionable in the gaming bill and that he has signaled he is comfortable with additional gaming at the tracks to help our industry,” Campbell said in a statement. “Based on private conversations that we have had with him, we believe that is the case.”
* And this…
And Mayor Emanuel, you need to do more than lead cheers for a losing team. You need a new path to a Chicago casino.
* Quote of the week goes to Lou…
[Quinn] said that the newer bill did not have strong enough ethical standards. “The most glaring deficiency of Senate Bill 1849 is the absence of strict ethical standards and comprehensive regulatory oversight. Illinois should never settle for a gaming bill that includes loopholes for mobsters,” he wrote.
“We don’t have any corruption in Illinois gaming. Where is his evidence that there is any mafia in Illinois gaming today? There isn’t any,” Lang said.
* And this is just plain silly talk…
After the veto was announced, Mayor Emanuel expressed frustration about Quinn’s decision and vowed to keep fighting for a Chicago casino. And Rahm’s not alone; other officials are upset with Quinn’s decision, citing the revenue the bill would have generated for the state.
Still, the main event here is the pair of Democratic leaders going head-to-head. It could set the stage for a gubernatorial run by Rahm in 2014, something that has in no way been hinted at yet, but isn’t out of the question.
Rahm ain’t running for governor.
* Reaction to gambling veto: ‘The south suburbs get the shaft again’: Ed Feigenbaum, editor of Indiana Gaming Insight, acknowledged: “Indiana certainly dodged a bullet on its western border.”
* Lawmakers react to Quinn’s casino veto: “A press release sent to them two minutes before you’re going to the media and that the media already had this. I think those are the kind of things that just infuriate the people that work in Springfield,” Link said.
* Gov. Quinn vetoes casino bill; opponents vow override
* Quinn vetoes gambling expansion bill
* Our view: Quinn’s veto right move
* Danville mayor: ‘Frustrated, disappointed, but not surprised’
* VIDEO: Lou Lang: Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Gaming Bill Veto is a “Big Disappointment”