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Let’s be careful out there

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019

* Sun-Times

There are more questions than answers when it comes to where a Chicago casino will land — and a revamped Illinois Gaming Board will be wading into uncharted territory in taking up the biggest gambling expansion the state has ever seen.

Although the measure passed by the Illinois General Assembly hasn’t yet been signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, there are plans to make changes to the Illinois Gaming Board to make the board more “pro-gaming,” according to state Sen. Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, who sponsored the gambling legislation and has worked to expand gaming in the state for years.

“You’re going to see changes rapidly,” Link said of the board tasked with regulating six new casinos, including a privately owned one in Chicago.

With one vacancy, the Gaming Board is likely to grow to five members. And Pritzker is expected to name a new [chairman] next month to replace Don Tracy, an appointee of former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

You don’t want an “anti-gaming” Gaming Board, which was partly why video gaming legalization took so long to implement. But a “pro-gaming” Gaming Board could open a different can of worms.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

11 Comments
  1. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    The Gaming Board should be a watchdog, but the GA and Governor made the policy decision to expand gaming. The Gaming Board should not be able to re-litigate the merits of that decision to expand gaming.


  2. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Three Dimensional Checkers has this right. The role of the Gaming Board is to equitably, fairly, and lawfully implement the policy of the state, which will now include more gaming.


  3. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Given all the expected revenue from so much expansion, we probably need a pro-gaming Gaming Board right now to keep things moving.


  4. - Montrose - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    What Precinct Captain said. It’s not about being pro or anti gaming. It’s about smartly implementing the policy in a manner consistent with the intent.


  5. - Skeptical - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 11:48 am:

    Rich, what is your evidence the Gaming Board is “anti gaming” (at least the Board are currently/recently constituted)? You seem to have made similar claims in the past but I’ve never seen you put forward any evidence of it. Video gaming seems to have exploded in the last few years. You’d think an anti gaming Board would have done something to rein it in.


  6. - Former State Worker - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    Skeptical,

    I’m not Rich but this article explains the missteps this state made with legalizing video gaming:

    https://features.propublica.org/the-bad-bet/how-illinois-bet-on-video-gambling-and-lost/


  7. - northsider (the original) - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 12:46 pm:

    Fold the Racing Board into it while they’re at it.


  8. - Skeptical - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 12:52 pm:

    I read that article, as well as their various follow up articles. The one you linked says the chairman of the board back in 2009 said they would need a ton more staff, which they never got, and that the bill was rushed through by industry lobbying.

    Frankly I don’t see this expansion being much different. The state is trying to basically double the number of casinos and add another whole gaming industry, where ProPublica is saying the regulator is understaffed.

    This plus Link’s comments just make it look like they will be turning a blind eye to any problems and rushing in head first unprepared.


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 1:37 pm:

    ===Rich, what is your evidence the Gaming Board is “anti gaming” ===

    Didn’t say is, have said was.


  10. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 1:47 pm:

    I would suggest they do spend some time looking at the negative implications of all of this and look at some the abuse prevention options and technologies that are available and work that into things.

    Since video poker locations really don’t have the employees to step in and stop someone (in some parts of the world everyone, including the janitors are trained to spot problems) advances in technology that enforce gaming ‘brakes’ and other options should always be on the table.

    Lets not kid ourselves, video gaming has caused harm to some in this state and it’s expansion is going to cause more harm and the state has done a terrible job trying to mitigate that. If we are going to take activites that are known to cause problems for some and use them to solve the state’s budget issues the board has a moral obligation to monitor and attempt to mitigate.


  11. - revvedup - Tuesday, Jun 11, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    to OneMan: Illinois government seldom recognizes moral issues while they’re chasing money; the Lottery showed that years ago. Any spike in gambling addiction behaviors, and the cost of same, is never part of their calculus. Even poverty pocket towns in the South Suburbs of Chicago (Dolton, Riverdale, Phoenix, etc) allowed video gambling, and the planned South Suburban Casino will be another disaster for the area.


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