Senate OKs major expansion of gambling in Illinois

Senate OKs major expansion of gambling in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – A huge gambling expansion bill – including a casino for Danville – cleared the Illinois Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 31-20. But Gov. Pat Quinn has already expressed reservations about major gambling expansion. And the House, which would have just eight days in early January to consider the measure, traditionally has been less welcoming to major gambling bills.

Among area senators, only Mike Frerichs, the Champaign Democrat whose district includes Danville, voted for the bill. Republican Sens. Dale Righter of Charleston and Dan Rutherford of Chenoa voted against it. Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, voted present.

The legislation includes new casinos for Danville, Rockford, Lake County and the south suburbs, plus an exceptionally large casino for Chicago – with 4,000 gaming positions – that would be owned by the city. Existing riverboat casinos could expand to 1,600 positions in 2013. The bill also permits slot machines at horse-racing tracks, according to Sen. Terry Link, D-Waukegan.

"Is it a huge expansion? Yes, I'm not going to deny it," Link said. "But we've got a huge deficit in the state of Illinois. We've got huge problems in the state of Illinois. So you don't look at little things to fix it. You look at big things to fix it. This is the way to do it."

Frerichs predicted that several groups would be interested in obtaining the casino license for Danville, and said there is "a lot of support out there for it."

"Everyone from the mayor to other elected officials to their chamber of commerce. There seems to be a general consensus that it's not what they ideally would like. They'd like to have some large manufacturers like they had for years. They've been trying very hard to attract some other companies and have had a lot of successes. But this is something that would employ a thousand to 1,200 people and bring in a lot of money to local coffers for redevelopment."

Frerichs also said Illinois racetracks and Illinois agribusiness would be helped by the legislation.

But Righter and Rutherford said massive gambling expansion shouldn't be used to solve the state's financial problems.

"This is far too big," Righter said. "And I'm especially concerned about having a Chicago casino that is owned by the city. My constituents read about the graft and corruption already up there, and they wonder what this is like and how this will reflect on them and the state of Illinois."

Rutherford said he is fundamentally opposed to gambling expansion "but when you see something like this, it is dramatically expanding gambling, and I have a big problem with that.

"The only reason this can even have any life like this today is because Illinois is so short of money. This becomes the desperate move. In my opinion, good public policy is not done when you're under the pressure to make decisions like that."

He acknowledged that the bill "would help my Danville friends, but with all respect, I think we have to do what's best for public policy, not because we're put over the economic barrel."

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CaptainVanilla wrote on December 02, 2010 at 10:12 am

We in Illinois are not being "put over the economic barrel," we are being crushed by it. This may ruffle a few feathers, but to hear politicians moralize about the evils of gambling is hypocritical when our state is in this financial mess largely because of our politicians' misdeeds. This bill won't just help your Danville friends, Sen. Condescension, it will help the entire state. It will help individuals, real people, who are struggling to make ends meet. It will provide employment opportunities to an area of the state which is devastatingly lacking, and has been for decades. And we will get money coming in from neighboring states. If this is a desperate measure, it's because we are desperate. One doesn't turn down a floating tree limb because it's not a life boat when one is in danger of drowning.

pigs in space wrote on December 02, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Does anybody remember the Off Track Betting Parlor out on Lynch?
Yeah, that was supposed to turn D-Vegas into the next Las Vegas. We all know how that turned out.
This bill won't do jack$#%@ for D-Vegas, and all you buffoons who say otherwise are being fed a line of #@$^. It's the same lowly politicians giving you a snow job. Wake up and smell the Patrón! Stop believing lies. We've been hoodwinked so many times, it's like a psychosis the way we can't stop drooling over their limp $##@%s......

Let's do the math:
One-third of D-Vegas is either unemployed or unemployable.
Soooo, who's going to get this load of jobs they claim will be coming our way?
The CONTRACTORS will be from out of town.... because our local business leaders are radically anti-union and prefer better quality workers from Indiana (who are also cheaper). This is how Taco Bell and every other place got built in the last 15 years.
The OWNERS will be from out of town.... NONE will be local, so you can bet they'll be exporting their profits to Peoria or St. Louis.
The WORKERS will be from out in the county/small towns/Indiana.... after all, D-Vegas is too black and white trash and most don't even have their GEDs. It's this group of people who are our region's UNDESIREABLES, and even when they're qualified they don't get no respect from the Powers That Be (that's only partially racial, by the way).
The CARD DEALERS can't come from D-Vegas.... that's a skilled job, and D-Vegas hasn't got a single soul who's been trained or got experience.

And just how many hotels and restaurants do you expect to be built once -- or IF -- this thing ever materializes? Maybe just one each, probably it'll be a combo hotel/casino like the Paradise in Peoria, which means the same statistics that apply to the casino (detailed above) will apply to everything else as well.

And, as gambling sucks out the spare change from our local trash, it'll increase the booze and drug consumption. It'll be a good place for local hookers and dealers to congregate, much like they did in the village of Belgium when they had that nudie bar a few years ago.
Therefore..... taxes will have to go up to support the Health Dept. even more, property taxes will have an overall decline after about 5 years of this pathetic little mini-boom which will benefit OUTSIDERS almost exclusively. On the bright side, if you want a career in law enforcement, please take classes at DACC. There is sure to be 1 or 2 extra positions opening at the D-Vegas Police Dept. in the not-so-distant future.

Yup, yup, yup.... thanks for nothing, Mayor Scott Eisenhauer, and thank you too, Bill Black, for your "crowning" achievement of bringing another stain on our scummy, downward spiral of a city!

antigambler wrote on December 02, 2010 at 6:12 pm

The tax rate on casinos was just lowered in SB737 if it passes the House. With all the new gambling locations in the bill, other locations would probably see a reduction in adjusted gross receipts. The lowest tax rate is 12%.

Therefore, I will use 12% for my example. In order to produce $1 Billion in revenue for the state of Illinois, Illinois gamblers would have to lose over $8 BILLION!

Think how $8 BILLION could help other Illinois businesses. That money doesn't fall from Heaven. That is $8 BILLION that would not be spent elsewhere in the Illinois economy, where it would also be taxed.

CenIllSportBuf wrote on December 02, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Not quite right in spite of your excellent math work. You see, the Bill has the Casinos located in "border" towns where the majority of revenue garnered by the patrons will come from out of state. this was a MAJOR focus as well as a major study for the lawmakers. In fact, a study published last year on the Danville casino showed that an estimated 77% of the revenue would come from Indiana visitors. The study focused on people surveyed that currently travel much further to frequent casinos. In the communities with casinos (I lived in one for 15 years), the casinos have helped tremendously with an increase in business, revenues, taxes and JOBS FOR LOCAL PEOPLE (contrary to what the poster above who obviously has NO experience believes) that need them deparately. And by the way, casinos also offer jobs for people with GED's, no GED's, high school diplomas as well as many with college degrees. It is up to the individual as to how much education he/she wishes to take advantage of... With Casinos come hotels, restaurants, taxis, convention centers, entertainment,,,, you name it! It's FACT, not fiction. And by the way, there is NO COMPARISON to a casino and an off-track betting site. That's why it's obvious our well intentioned poster above has no experience from which to draw from. And one more thing on crime. Ever wonder why casino opponents never produce studies that show an increase in crime? Because there isn't an increase... only conjecture on their parts.

pigs in space wrote on December 02, 2010 at 11:12 pm

You have a very nice, well-thought-out, answer there. It's the best I've ever read on a D-Vegas related blog (better than any of mine, also). Kudos to you, sir!
I do, in fact, know about casinos (I'm just not an expert, or clearly as knowledgeable as you are).
The focus of my post wasn't really about slamming casinos, per se. You see, I happen to think they're great if they're well planned, well timed, and have successful leadership.
That's why I oppose the D-Vegas Riverboat Casino.
You see, my post wasn't about casinos -- it was about D-Vegas.
I may never have lived in a casino town like you, but I've lived here a long, long time.
I know this community, and especially the people who are selling this.
This isn't being done to bring jobs to D-Vegas. This is being done as Scott Eisenhauer's "Mr. Win-the-War" strategy to win himself a 3rd term (notice how it only popped up as an issue after his 2-bankruptingly pathetic terms?).
Also, you have a few bad lines in your post. 1. You say people can get as much or as little education as they want. We D-Vegans prefer little over a lot (in case you haven't noticed). Freebasing, dro and some Jack, with a side order of hookers and stolen amps, is more our style (that't not racial, that's just as white and Hispanic as it is black in this town).
2. Crime in D-Vegas. Have you noticed it's extremely high already? Why doesn't East St. Louis get a riverboat casino? That's why D-Vegas shouldn't get one. Do you know how much drug deals and organized crime happens here?
You mix an overabundance of addictive behavior or substances in a town that has few other options besides those substances, and all you get is a bunch of motor-mouthed addicts. On the other hand, give a town unrelated businesses, maybe even a quasi-comparable Unemployable Dropout vs. Working Grad rate, then I'm sure the community can handle the negatives of a casino.

And -- don't be naive -- there are negatives and positives to everything. If this was really the panacea you claim, there wouldn't be a debate. We'd have had that casino since before my mom was born here! But, there are negatives coupled with the positives. And D-Vegas is overloaded with negatives already. That's not conjecture. Maybe you live on Rue Orleans or something, but the bulk of our peeps aren't the clean-cut, drug-free wannabes you have in mind. And they will infest that casino like fleas on a raccoon! (Espescially since it's going to be on the east side of town, the same side as Fair Oaks and the prison!)
And our politicians are as gutless as ever in reaching out to the neighborhoods they live in, other than to do charming things, like raise taxes, and raise taxes some more, and did I mention they like to raise taxes?
The same bunch of political hacks (ie, Scott Eisenhauer & Friends), will sink this boat & it's satellite businesses like they scuttled our barely used Civic Center, our Off Track Betting Facility, our Mall, our Downtown, the Renaissance District, Ryan's Steakhouse, Starbucks, GM, Valmont, Waldenbooks (like our people can read?!), yada, yada, yada.... It might survive as a partial slum factory before it gets subsidized by our tax dollars just to keep it open a few more years than it should... Our glorious leaders have a track record worse than Uwe Boll for turning mega-video games into mega-movie flops.... (... And before you reply, answer this: Why doesn't East St. Louis get a riverboat casino?...) ....

CenIllSportBuf wrote on December 03, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Oh Pig! You know what they say? Danville, love it or leave it! OK - I guess that was America but IMO that wouldn't put you far enough away from me! I read your ill contrived posts on here as well as your post on the article about Rep. Black. You really hate it here don't you? You sound to me like a guy who's down on his luck and wants to blame everyone but himself for their situation. Well, I don't have time to spend trying to sway the opinions (and that is just what they are, opinions with no base in fact) of you or those who feel like you do. It's easy for you to point at failed business in Danville (D-Vegas? come on, shows your immaturity) as a barometer for success in the town, but to understand the failures you have to go all the way back to NAFTA (you probably don't know what that means but look it up and soon you will be an expert) that became the death knell of our city. Not the recent administration. New businesses can develop but without the jobs that put money in our good peoples' pockets they have a hard time surviving. Major industry won't come to Danville until Illinois changes it's "no cap" status for workmen's comp. Plain and simple. One point I can agree with you on (and only one) is that many local people MAY not get the highest paying jobs from the building of a riverboat but Danville has always been a blue collar community full of people that are willing to work hard for their paychecks. That won't change. Given hope and a chance, Danville people will rise to the occasion. That's been proven in recent years on the gridiron, a true microcosm of society in general. Your attack on our community leaders will fall on deaf but well informed ears and with good reason. For one, the riverboat issue didn't just happen as a campaign ploy. It happened through the foresight of Terry Link (this time around) who, I don't believe lives in Danville or plays golf with the mayor. The idea itself goes back many years. Our people are too smart to buy that. You obviously have some hidden "agenda" but you know what? I'm going to cut this short because my time would be better spent conversing with someone who matters... Oh by the way, your mom must've been one of those crazy child moms you hear about in third world countries if "We'd have had that casino since before my mom was born here!" as you put it... That would make your mom 21... Riverboats were allowed into Illinois in 1989... :) Oh and to answer your question about East St. Louis (glad you asked)... Do you really think our elected officials in Illinois think that direct competition with the riverboats in St. Louis MO (last I checked STILL across the river from E. St. Louis) is a good thing? Maybe that's why they were elected and not you.....

mendys wrote on December 06, 2010 at 9:12 pm

First, NAFTA is not the cause of the Danville decline. Many businesses and industries were already heading out. Major culprits are worker's compensation, unemployment benefits, business taxes/fees, costs of insurance, and minimum wage. (Guess what? All surrounding states have cheaper worker's comp, lower minimum wage, lower unemployment benefits, lower business taxes/fees, and lower insurance costs. When some do-gooder legislator decides health insurance must cover a new procedure or everyone who files for worker's comp qualifies, the costs of business go up. Then smart businesses decide that the bottom line is the bottom line. Heck, don't believe me. Ask Family Dollar and Honda -- these corporations decided Danville and Illinois are too expensive.)

Secondly, I support the casino expansion. Will it work? NO. The times are a-changing. The difference now is akin to the off-track betting that was once in Danville. When it started, there was not anything similar within a reasonable distance. Then Champaign got an OTB and Peoria got a riverboat casino; the result was Danville went belly up. Danville is relatively small, and they will not get people from any distance because of the Joilet-Chicago area, the Peoria area, southern Illinois, and the tons of Indiana casinos. In short, many casinos are hurting because they are in an area without enough population to support it. In many ways, the area is saturated.

Don't get me wrong; I wish Danville luck. My feeling is that there are just too many casinos out there to make Danville successful (or we will constantly be told of the poor results year after year until closing). But, heck, if Starbucks can make it here . . . oh, wait.

pigs in space wrote on December 04, 2010 at 10:12 am

Geez, CenIllSportsBuf, you like to tell jokes don't you? And why so personal?
Also, the comment, "Maybe that's why they were elected and not you," is funnier than anything else you said. Did you know Illinois has the lowest financial rating in the country? Does that sound like we have an intelligent electorate? And D-Vegas is lower than virtually every other town in the state (property values rank us lower than most communities our size nationwide).

And I'm not down on my luck. D-Vegas is, however (so is Illinois -- ever hear of George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich? I bet you jumped on the, "they're criminals" bandwagon only after their arrests too!).
My mindset, contrary to what you think, is closer to the average resident's than what you understand. Your comments should put you in the mayor's good graces (or have they already?)

My main problem with our glorious leaders is this: they take credit for every rainbow off in the distance, but each time there's a failure, even one blatantly caused by their Taxation-Compulsive Addiction -- guess what? -- oh, that's caused by some distant issue completely unrelated to us!

The casino is a bottom-feeder job ghetto. You can whitewash over it, but it's popularity is the direct result of fiscal mismanagement. To ignore repeated failures, as you do, is not to be pro-D-Vegas. It's a very negative action, one that fuels resentment and anger, and for good reason.

The Frank-Drebinization of reality ticks me off! I'm angered by waste, and you should be too.

(And, please lose the righteous "I'm all about the facts" and everything you say is "just an opinion" nonsense. When "the facts" always stack up to "I'm right and you're wrong," you might want to reconsider things a little.)

CenIllSportBuf wrote on December 04, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Listen Pig,, Your facts not only don't "stack up", they don't exist! I've asked you a couple of times to give me some examples of the widespread "corruption" running rampant in Danville.. You don't because you CAN"T. You let your hatred of the mayor (of whom's graces I could care less about, much like your "graces" good or bad) compells you to continuously open your mouth about which you appear to assume much and know nothing. Maybe I'm wrong but if so, prove it to me. Tell me the specifics of the corruption of which you speak. By the way, making decisions that ultimately do not work out is not quite the same as "corruption". You DO realize that, right? My "hang up" on the facts is simply that they back up my opinions. I draw my opinions from what is proven to me, not what I heard at some coffee clutch at your local morning diner. When will you put the horse in the barn here? Oh,, and as far as the Blago dig. Another bad assumption. Never liked the guy but was particularly upset when he retooled tollway signs to add his name to the tune of millions in taxpayer monies LONG before he was arrested. Also never liked his haircut.. Hey! When you finally come up with some facts to support any of your "conspiracy theory", let me know! Maybe you can let me in on who shot JFK too!!