Illinois: Saturated in Vice

Written by Benjamin Smith

In this week’s edition of our weekly podcast, Monte Larrick talks with Anita Bedell, the executive director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems (ILCAAAP).  Anita and Monte discuss Gambling and Marijuana and their effects on revenue and taxes in Illinois.

Illinois lawmakers are once again considering legislation to expand gambling.  The proposal before the Illinois General Assembly is sponsored by Illinois Senators Terry Link (D-Gurnee), Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Donne Trotter (D-Chicago).

As if the vice of gambling isn’t enough, state lawmakers are now considering legalizing recreational marijuana by taxing and regulating this addictive gateway drug. State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) and State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) held a subject matter hearing on this topic in April to start the one-sided discussion, and the Chicago media helped to cheer it along. Steans and Cassidy decided they wouldn’t call it for a vote this year. But it’s coming…

Gambling legislation (SB 7) will give special perks to the gambling industry while soaking hard working families. According to Bedell:

SB 7 includes a massive casino for Chicago, slots machines at Chicago Airports, additional land-based casinos for Rockford, Danville, Lake County, South Suburbs of Chicago, Williamson County Winery, and at 4 racetracks.

SB 7 allows progressive jackpots at casinos and video gambling establishments and expands video gambling by doubling the maximum bet and more than doubling the jackpot.

The bill lowers taxes on slot machines and table games and gives tax breaks to racetracks and casinos.  SB 7 will not solve the budget problem, but it will increase addiction and problem gambling.

The Atlantic published an excellent article about casinos and how they enable gambling addicts, saying: “Modern slot machines develop an unbreakable hold on many players-some of whom wind up losing their jobs, their families, and even in some cases like Scott Stevens, their lives.”  Read more HERE.

Illinois is absolutely saturated with gambling:  26,000 video gambling machines, 10 casinos, horse racing, off-track betting, and Internet betting on horse racing and Lottery.  More individuals and families will be harmed if Senate Bill 7 becomes law.

Take ACTION:  Click HERE to send your state representative an email or a fax to tell them “NO MORE GAMBLING — PERIOD.” Don’t delay in speaking out. 

More ACTION:  Call the Governor’s office to let them know you are opposed to SB 7 and ask the governor to oppose this massive expansion of gambling. (217-782-6830)

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