A press release from The Task Force to Oppose Gambling for Chicago:
Gambling Expansion, Including a Chicago Casino Threatens Families in This Recession
Task Force Appeals to Quinn to Veto SB 744 House
(Chicago, IL…) The Task Force to Oppose Gambling for Chicago while opposed to a casino for Chicago is deeply concerned with the
- proposed opening of five new casinos,
- slots at the tracks and
- expanding slots at the existing ten casinos
in the middle of a major recession.
It is not known if the newest downturn in the economy is the feared “double dip” that has been speculated about, but it is clear economic times are not good.
The Illinois General Assembly passed last spring SB 744, the latest gambling expansion bill establishing casinos in
- Park City (near Waukegan,
- Rockford and
- an undisclosed location in South Cook County).
The proposed bill will finally go to Governor Quinn for a decision on approval or not by early September. Quinn has raised concerns over the radical expansion bite to the state…
The Governor has met with some opponents and proponents of the bill. The Task Force to Oppose Gambling for Chicago sent the following points to Governor Quinn to consider:
- The tenth license opened in mid-July in the near by suburb of Des Plaines. This casino will remove the concern Mayor Emanuel has about Chicagoans going to Indiana to gamble, thus removing tax dollars from the state. We have no position on the existing ten casinos in Illinois;
- We are greatly concerned about how a casino will change Chicago forever, now an international business center and world class city orientated to families. Chicago as you know is vibrant, exciting and appeals to all classes of people;
- We are also concerned about the impact on people with gambling problems. The research published in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol, November, 2001shows 4.2 percent of Latinos, 3.7 percent of African-Americans and .5 percent of Whites have gambling problems. The math shows that minorities will be carrying the burden of gambling problems. The issue of problem gamblers was mostly ignored by legislators. Gamblers with problems, which are expected to increase, were relegated to being collateral damage, aided by a paltry amount of addiction relief money;
- Citizens of Chicago have not been asked their view on a Chicago casino through a referendum. We know you share a concern over the lack of citizen input on major public policy decisions;
- We share as the Chicago Crime Commission and Gaming Board chair, Aaron Jaffe has articulated concerns over crime increasing. As you know in Chicago we need to be concerned about street and individual crime as well as institutional crime in a city with a reputation for such behavior; and
- Mayor Emanuel has made several budget adjustments since taking office that allows him to do away with furlough days. This move effectively removes the city’s argument they are in dire financial straits and thus needing a casino.
Doug Dobmeyer Task Force spokesperson said,
“We ask Governor Quinn to veto SB744 to preserve the integrity of Chicago and Illinois we know it and veto SB744 as a major mistake of state public policy. If the bill moves ahead with the governor’s approval, the nature and culture of Chicago will change forever. Citizens of this city have previously indicated they do not favor a casino. Instead a coalition of non-Chicagoan legislators provided the leadership to pass the bill. Preserve your reputation as a leader for people instead of a shill for Vegas type gambling bosses.”
The Task Force to Oppose Gambling for Chicago is a coalition of religious, civic and neighborhood organizations committed to opposing casino style gambling in Chicago formed in 1992.