Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Illinois poised to be next gambling mecca, but at what cost?

A week and a half has passed since Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn signed into law a $31 billion construction bill. It may sound like a good idea, until you take a closer look at. The bill relies partially on expected revenue from the legalization of video poker that was signed into law. This has taken me over a week to try and post something about it. I am still shaking my head. I guess I am in shock that by next year there will legal video poker machines in taverns and restaurants and fraternal and veteran clubs, such as the VFW all across the state. I think this is a bad idea.

Illinois already has nine casinos, all of which are located on a river bank. I see nothing wrong with that. These casinos are heavily taxed and thoroughly monitored by the Illinois Gaming Authority. So why didn't the state just make available more licenses for casinos, instead of making the entire state full of these poker machines? It would have made more sense. Everything is already in place. The state currently has a limit of ten casino licenses. Am I the only person that is wondering how this happened? Wouldn't Illinois residents rather have a few more large casinos than have thousands of "mini-casinos?"

It's no secret that for years taverns, restaurants and clubs have had video poker machines "for amusement only," but the winners would be paid "under the table." The state police have even busted dozens of taverns for illegal gambling, arresting both bartenders and patrons. Now there will be no more busts like that. If these businesses are already illegally paying jackpots with the machines they have now, what would make them want to partner with the state and lease or buy these new machines. They would also have to pay the state 25% of the total take.

I think what surprises me the most about this is how it was so quietly pushed through and so under reported. You know how I found out about this? I happened to be reading the online version of the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday and that is where I found about it first! I watch my local news, read my local newspapers, and read online versions of various newspapers in the state. I don't know how I missed this!

After I read the Illinois news in the Las Vegas newspaper, I started googling to find out more. I was surprised that I could not find very many newspaper articles about the new wave of gambling about to hit nearly every town in the state. For anyone interested, a list of the most interesting links that I found about the new video poker law is at the end of this blog post.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I like casino gambling every now and then. Video poker is my game of choice; however I have never played these unregulated poker machines that exist now. I wouldn't dare waste a single quarter knowing that the machines could be rigged or set at a minimal payout percentage! One restaurant in my town has what's known as the "back room" and is lined with slot and poker machines! Places like this exist all over the state. This has been going on for around fifteen years in Illinois! I know, because some of my own family members were addicted to poker machines in the local taverns. It almost caused a divorce. I wonder what all problems the residents of this state will face once the legal poker machines turn up almost everywhere? Only time will tell. What do you think?

(Click the title link for the first article I read about this, which was in the Las Vegas Review-Journal). Here are the other articles that I found most interesting:

I really would like to know what people think about this wide open gambling. I realize that I didn't go into detail about how many machines could be at various locations, etc. Those details are very bizarre. For example, bars and restaurants will be allowed up to three machines and the organizations could have up to five. Most places have more machines than that already! Another strange aspect of the legalized poker machines is that the maximum bet will be two dollars and the maximum jackpot will be $500.00. Anybody that has played video poker knows that the machines take up to five tokens, which could be in most any denomination--like quarters, dollars, etc. It would appear that the maximum token will be worth .40! Of course, there is no .40 coin! That would explain one reason for the need for the manufacturing of special machines, which is what got the Las Vegas newspaper interested in the subject.

Are you in a state that has wide open gambling? What do you think about this new legal video poker law in Illinois? Would you want it in your state? Would you want it in your community? Do you think Illinois can pull this off? Crazy idea or not? many questions!

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Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


John said...

Thanks for leaving a comment. Feel free to leave your opinion, etc. Thanks for reading!

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