* This Virginia Mercury story is mildly amusing on two levels outside of the paper’s legit local angles…
A coalition of gambling companies hoping to get slot machines back into Virginia convenience stores and bars kicked off its legislative push this week with a private flight for four lawmakers to Chicago.
While the plush jet raised some eyebrows — Virginia politicians have generally eschewed gifts of private air travel after scandal consumed former Gov. Bob McDonnell — organizers said it was strictly an opportunity to learn from Illinois, which broadly legalized video gambling terminals in 2009.
“It was a fact-finding mission,” said Dylan Bishop, the lobbyist who organized the trip on behalf of the new Va. Video Gaming Terminal Coalition, which represents five gambling operators that have collectively given nearly a quarter million dollars to Virginia politicians in recent years, according to the Virginia Public Access Project. […]
Like Bishop, who organized the trip, Morrissey framed the roughly 36-hour excursion as all-business, beginning with a stop in Effingham, Ill., where J&J Ventures Gaming is headquartered. The company is the state’s most profitable video gambling operator, according to industry press. […]
The group then flew into Chicago, where they met with state lawmakers who work on gambling legislation.
1) The City of Chicago has never opted in to legalized video gaming;
2) They flew into Effingham, the heart of the Eastern Bloc, to talk about… gambling.
That’s it. I got nothing else. Talk amongst yourselves.