Should Illinois Expand Gambling as one way of Easing its Budget Troubles – Yes

If city-owned gambling institutions have successfully raised money for Hawaiian Gardens, California and Compton, California, then it stands to reason that gambling institutions would also successfully raise money for the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.

There are several benefits expanding gambling within the state. Casinos would bring jobs into economically depressed areas as well as tourism. These things would help to sustain small businesses and community development in blighted areas. Tax revenue raised from casinos would benefit so many necessary state and city programs. Bringing casinos closer to the city might even have an effect on traffic and the environment as fewer people would travel north western Indiana or Milwaukee, where some of the nearest casinos are located.

While it is true that casinos have long been associated with corruption, a number of corruption-free charity poker games exist in the city of Chicago and in the five-county area. These games have not reported any accidents, public drunkenness, riots or violent crimes. The game of poker has also proliferated online. The worst thing associated with online poker, so far, has been tax evasion, as the FBI has yet to connect specific websites with terrorist cells. Mass gambling addiction is also another unsupported concern. It is entirely possible to request that a friend, family member and even one’s self be banned from a casino in the state of Illinois for fear of gambling addiction.

The alternatives to expanding gambling would be raising sales, income and property taxes or cutting already scant services. In this economy, raising any kind of taxes would be a worse crime than corruption associated with gambling. Raising sales tax would cause people to buy less and businesses would suffer. Raising income taxes would further cut families’ incomes and diminish any hope of appropriate saving behavior. And raising property taxes would eat into already tight mortgage payments and possibly have a negative impact on foreclosure rates. At the same time, schools, libraries, public transportation, roads and parks need every drop of additional funding they can get. These institutions help us to sustain our way of life in this state and, no matter how much our personal incomes are, we are all poorer when their funding is cut.

So in conclusion, the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago should bring a little southern California ingenuity to the snowy tundra: crack down on smokers, start a cash deposit recycling program, woo In-and-Out Burgers, place a recall on the ballot, send kids to college at $11 a unit, raise minimum wage to $10 an hour and build city-owned casinos in blighted areas to raise revenue. Who know, if Illinois only tried, they might be able to do California better than California does California.