Editorials

As Illinois lawmakers seek more gambling income, one city resists — a little

Video gambling machines are in almost every community in Illinois. In order to allow up to six video gaming terminals per establishment in O’Fallon, the city council will have to amend O’Fallon Code of Ordinances 121.04.
Video gambling machines are in almost every community in Illinois. In order to allow up to six video gaming terminals per establishment in O’Fallon, the city council will have to amend O’Fallon Code of Ordinances 121.04. dholtmann@bnd.com

Illinois lawmakers are again looking to gambling to save their ability to keep spending.

A big Chicago casino, slots at Fairmount Park: more never seems to be enough atop the lottery, horse racing, riverboat casinos and video gaming inside every fraternal hall and corner tavern throughout the state.

A retired University of Illinois business professor pointed out that if we are in the casino business, we are selling ourselves way short. The Chicago casino license is worth $1 billion and we’re selling it for $50 million. The original licenses for the riverboat casinos were worth $1.5 billion each in current dollars, but went to political insiders for $25,000 each.

The problem is that gambling moves money around, but doesn’t create money because it doesn’t create a good or service. The biz prof says with every $1 from gambling comes $3 in social costs.

Still, some hold out. You have to wonder why.

O’Fallon City Council members recently told Abdullah Abraham to take his gambling machines and his booze elsewhere. He wanted to open the O’Fallon Cafe at 1334 Central Park Drive.

“I think O’Fallon should be run as a family-friendly city,” said Gary Hursey, a resident who opposed the plan.

Not that there aren’t plenty of bars and lodge halls in O’Fallon where things are less friendly to families.

Taking a stand is nice, but the reality is that there is little difference between Abraham’s joint and many others. In our modern Illinois family, Sis may be trying to stay pure, but Junior is smoking, Dad is broke and Mom is punching the “spin” button.

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