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Bet a bunch of new casino fees could balance Illinois’ budget

Belleville News Democrat

Monday, March 13, 2017  |  Editorial  |  By The Editorial Board

Budget--State (8) , Gambling, Gaming
Illinois is again betting on gambling, but it appears the goal is not to win the pot but just to collect the buy-in.

State lawmakers are proposing six new casinos, which they expect will generate $1 billion in setup fees. The license fee is $100,000 for the Chicago-area casinos with an extra $30,000 for each slot machine or seat at a blackjack table.

Hmmm. We’ve got a $12 billion backlog of state bills. Maybe if we can scam six new casino operators out of $1 billion, we could take 72 of them for the whole $12 billion tab?

Illinois has nearly 10 million residents old enough to gamble. Certainly that large of a potential customer base could draw another 72 casinos.

Instead of the Turnaround Agenda, we need the Roulette Agenda.

We can’t count on any more taxes from gambling. We’re saturated with a mini-casino in every tavern and fraternal hall and the “old” gambling of horse tracks and casinos are on the decline.

There’s no economic development. See any strip malls, restaurants or nightclubs growing out of the casinos in Alton or East St. Louis?

Our state universities balance their books by tacking on fees, so let’s get Illinois solvent by feeing those casinos.