Lying Gambling Sponsors

The Sun-Times reports Saturday that Senate President Emil Jones snuck a section in the bill to expand gambling to four new Illinois cities, including Chicago, as I read the article.

Dave McKinney reports,

“it would divert 2 percent of revenues from the four casinos to Chicago State University, potentially handing the school a $40 million windfall that would double its take from the state…

“In committee, Jones initially said Chicago State wasn’t in the legislation.”

When Senate Republicans pointed him to the specific section, Emil backed down

Boy, does that remind me of the original riverboat gambling bill.

There was Rockford’s State Rep. Zeke Giorgi presenting the bill.

It was night and I had finished my work for Central Management Services and was playing GOP House staffer.

The casino bill arrived. It was a long bill, just like today’s 218-page one.

I started reading it.

Before I could finish, the debate began.

State Rep. Margie Parcells took the floor to oppose the bill.

She asked Zeke about the promised $500 betting limit per cruise that was supposed to be in the bill.

As Zeke always did when he wanted to confuse people, he mumbled something about it’s being in the bill.

“Ask him what page,” I suggested to Margie.

She did, as I kept searching for the language.

Neither Zeke nor his staff could come up with a page or a section, but Zeke continued to insist that the $500 limit on losses each time a person went on a riverboat cruise was in the bill.

It wasn’t.

Zeke lied.

Just as Emil Jones lied about Chicago State University’s big payday should this year’s huge expansion of gambling be enacted.

No House Republican voted for the original gambling bill.

Now the GOP has been co-opted, dare I suggest, by campaign contributions from gambling interests.

There is more than one lesson in the how gambling has taken center stage in Illinois politics.

Lie and buy come to mind for starters.

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