Friday, April 08, 2005

If you do not like riverboat casinos, John Bradley has a bill for you.

What if someone was so fed up with gambling in riverboat casinos in Illinois that they tried to get rid of all of them. Would you call that person crazy? No. You would call that person State Representative John Bradley who has moved House Bill 1920 onto the House floor after earning an 8 to 1 vote in the State Government committee. The bill would simply revoke the 10 licenses to operate riverboat casinos in the state, currently held by different coalitions of now-wealthier political insiders. Bradley's point is that the 600-some million that the state collects in taxes from the boats is not worth it because Illinois residents pay a billion and a half every year to the boat owners. That money could generate sales and ultimately more income tax from the state if it were not sent to the boat owners, one quarter at a time. Then if you consider the other costs of bankruptcies, lost jobs, addictions and the rest, there is a suspicion that the money for the state is not worth it. So, commenters and readers, if you jumped down my virtual throat for not thinking the Governor's plan really constitutes an expansion of gambling, then start pushing HB 1970. For more background, google it because I can not link from my phone.


So-Called Austin Mayor said...

Illinois Family Institute link --

Illinois Leader link --

Carl Nyberg said...

If I were cynical I'd say this is a ploy by some members of the legislature to shakedown the casinos for more campaign contributions.

I don't doubt Bradley's sincerity, but if I were cynical I'd be suspicious of the party leadership that allowed it to move forward.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Then maybe you should not be cynical. The last thing civil society needs is more cynicism. It's toxic. Don't spread it.

Anonymous said...

Let's assume that Bradley is straight up. I agree that gaming is not the most desirable source of revenue.

Yet, if one proposes to eliminate it, you must also propose alternative revenue or specific expenditure reductions (not a hypothetical spending-generated sales tax revenue increase).

Bradley has not done this.

So, limited understanding or shakedown?

Bill Baar said...

My wife works someone who works a second job as security at the Elgin casino. The number one security problem used to be people jumping off the boat when they ran out of money and walking through the river to the parking lot. That's when the boat used to move into the middle of the river. The next biggest problem was children left in cars in the parking lot while mom and dad went to gamble. It's tough to like an industry like that. I take Bradley at face value here. Gambling is a vice and does some bad stuff to people.

Still, the boat's provided a lot of money to help downtown Elgin. It's hardly a rebirth but I think would have been in far worse shape without the boat.

Ralph said...

I will point out that when riverboat gambling passed, So-Ill legislators were promised that they would get at least one boat (near Paducah) and [perhaps two (the second near Cape Giraradeau.)

It wasn't the first or the last promise broken.