POLL: Expand Illinois Gambling?

Image courtesy joelk75/Flickr

A bill to expand gambling in Illinois and authorize a Chicago casino was recently passed by the General Assembly. Now, Governor Pat Quinn must decide whether to sign the bill into law, kill it with a veto, or rewrite and change the legislation.

But BGA followers won’t have to wait for Quinn’s decision. You can weigh in on the gambling issue right now by taking the BGA Online Poll, which asks:

For more information, make sure to check out our Illinois Gaming Expansion Bill FAQ. And find out more about the June 29 BGA Forum on the proposal for a Chicago casino.



Filed under Gaming, Polls

53 responses to “POLL: Expand Illinois Gambling?

  1. Isabel Rodriguez

    I think the racetrack should have casinos just like other states. They are already licensed for gambling. Someone in legislation should see how much money Indiana, Philly, and others states provide to their states. No matter how anyone sees it, people who likes to gamble are going to gamble no matter what. Otherwise give the bookies free tax money.

    • Ruby

      The two race tracks in Indiana do have slot machines but both racetracks in Indiana have also recently filed for bankruptcy protection. This is not the way to improve the economy of Illinois or Indiana.

      • Pam

        This was due to other reasons rather than the racinos NOT making money. Please get the facts before you make judgment!

    • wayne

      i totally agree Isabel—-nothing anymore fun than watching your horse-pick coming down the strech and winning. you raise a very good point.

  2. Dirk Lohan

    casinos exploit the poorer population and attract crime. To the best of my knowledge no city has become a better place because it has casinos in its midst.

    • Marcia S.

      You apparently have never been to Las Vegas.

    • gerry

      The majority of people that go to Arlington Park will go there because they like horse racing. Those that want to focus on gambling will find a casino. Arlington Park is family friendly that provides a wonderful venue to enjoy the outdoors in a well guarded and controlled environment. To blame the race track on crime and exploiting the poorer population is absurd.

  3. NO

    Casinos and gambling are not responsible solutions to the problems caused by fiscally irresponsible government in Chicago and Illinois.

    Instead, they are windfalls for the crony patrons of corrupt politicians.

    Limiting gambling to “just one” casino isn’t a sensible approach, either.

    Instead, it grants a monopoly to political beneficiaries.

    If gambling were a good business for Chicago or Illinois, then unfettered competition in the marketplace should also be allowed, to encourage both the greatest amount of profits for taxation on behalf of all citizens, and the best products and services for gambling consumers.

  4. James Fleshman

    pass gambling he horse industry in illinoisbill ans save t

  5. Fran

    Yes we need the gaming bill passed. Thousands of jobs depend on it and the families of these people. In these times, we need all the help we can get.

  6. bob

    when dock side gaming was allowed for the exsisting casino boats this legislation really accelarated the downward spiral of horse racing in the state of illinois. that is why it is so important that electronic gaming at the race tracks be part of any new gaming legislation for the state of illinois. horse racing in illinois has too long and rich of a tradition to just let it succumb to the political power of the exisisting casino boats.

  7. I think the racetracks should have casinos. People are gonna go to the casinos to gamble anyway whether it be in your state or another you may as well give the money to your own city rather than another one . If the track doesnt get it , it will go under putting hundreds of people out of work, and putting them in the unemployment line or also forcing alot of them to just move on to other states. the legislation needs to open their eyes and see what it does for their city. And as for crime , how much do you hear about crime at the other casinos it hasnt scared any of those gambling grannies away .

  8. Sandy R

    I vote yes please pass the slots bill for Illinois Horse Racing. I have worked in this industry for over 20 year and I want to keep my job as well as the other thousand of workers in this business. Please say yes Let us keep our jobs.

  9. Cam McAndrews

    Chicagoans and other Illinoisans are already going to the casinos to gamble. Those casinos just happen to be in other states. Why are we supporting our neighboring states’ economies with billions of Illinois dollars? This bill will provide a much needed boost to Illinois’ number one economic engine: agriculture, of which horseracing is a HUGE part. Do the right thing Quinn and pass SB744

  10. David W. Corder

    This is a “no-brainer”. For a state that is broke, how can Illinois even consider sending our money and jobs to another state? With passage of this bill, the horse racing business and the ag industry associated with it will be able to save jobs, create jobs and bring in much needed revenue for The State of Illinois.

  11. antigambler

    Congratulations to Illinois Gaming Board Chairman Aaron Jaffe for telling Governor Quinn that SB744 is “garbage”! The governor noted that Jaffe’s opinion is “critical”. Call the governor at (800) 642-3112, and tell him to veto SB744.

  12. Pam

    This bill needs to be passed! The horse racing industry depends on it to survive. The casinos always get everything they ask for. I guess it is the people with deep pockets that can afford to pay to play. It is time for the state of Illinois to help a industry that has been around for generations supporting tens of thousands of families who work in it. If they do not, it will be a loss that will be felt by everyone.

  13. Annette Elmore

    I am a United Methodist, and I vote “NO!” to any type of gambling. It is against Holy Scripture as well as destroys lives. I serves to keep some rich and the majority poor. It destroys homes, families, children, and adds to the amorality and vice that plague our society already!

    VOTE NO CASINO!!!!! I say “NO Governor Quinn! If it passes House/Senate you VETO it!!!

    • Pam

      Annette, if it so unholy, why do I see dozens of church buses going to the casinos every week-end? PLEASE!

    • Frank Rugal

      Screw the holier than thou, including the United Methodists! Who the hell are you to tell others what they can and cannot do. If you don’t want to gamble, don’t gamble and don’t go to the casino or race track. But don’t tell me I can’t have it! The only thing destroying lives and feeding off the poor is the corrupt church you go to! Keep your BS morals to yourself!

    • Kenny "the gambler" rogers

      I guess bingo isn’t gambling and am I to assume all those church buses I see at local casino’s are poor souls lost on their way to church? No one is forcing you to gamble if this bill passes but if it does a lot of new jobs will be created which the state of Illinois desperately needs.
      Annette, wake up and get your head out of your ass- your an idiot.

  14. Betsy

    Gamblers are going to gamble no matter what. We need to keep them in Illinois. With slots at the tracks we may even bring some people from Indiana to Balmoral and Wisconsin to Arlington. It is a win win situation for the state to put slots at the tracks. Like others have said, if Quinn does not sign the bill, horseracing will die, all the vets, blacksmiths, feed growers and sellers, track employees and stable and barn hands will be out of work. The bill is not creating a gambling problem. Wake up Quinn!!!

    • myty77

      Totally agree with ya Betsy. We already have a great infrastructure for the horse racing industry in Illinois. Not too long ago Illinois and Kentucky were the top breeders. Now we are at the bottom of the list cause everyone is following da money out of da state. I don’t get it. Illinois used to be the first state or two to set precedents for the other states. Now we are the last state to follow on everything, like this gaming bill. I would like Gov. Quinn to tell me what is going to happen if the horse industry goes belly up. That means our unemployment rate goes up yet again and Illinois would have to spend billions more to create other infrastuctures to employ the now unemployed. Where is the money going to come from? Illinois is already 15 billion in the hole. Like I said, we already have the infrastructure we just need a little boost to be competive with the boats. And like you said, the horse racing industry involves more than just people working directly at the track. It starts with agriculture all the way down to shoveling the stuffa. It’s time to level the playing field once again. The boats have had their reign for the last 20-25 years… In closing, I would be fine with the boats keeping their slots as long as they give the tracks “sports gaming.”

  15. Arlington Bob

    The lottery is the ABSOLUTE worst game for gamblers in the state, yet it is encouraged by the state, subjected as we are to its free publicity (WGN TV) and a ton of adverstising daily. Other venues and forms of gaming should have their free-market share of the betting market. Instead, race tracks have been heavily regulated and held back for decades, while the state throws out more and more garbage lottery games around it. Allow the race tracks to have a chance to survive by permitting more gaming at the tracks. Racing and some casino games are games of skill; the lottery is the worst game of all.

  16. mark t. engelhard

    one of the biggest forms of gambling is sports betting. it should be allowed at racetracks.

  17. Studies show that gambling ends up costing the taxpayer more in police services, counseling, crime, child support, job loss etc Gambling is addictive and the casino industry, like the tobacco industry, counts on that addiction for their huge profits. The working man ends up on the short end of the stick..

  18. Expanded gambling will dilute spending for goods and other services from the money in the economy. Much of the projected $400 million gain from gaming will be lost in other economic sectors. No one is getting a raise to go out to gamble.

  19. David W. Corder

    For those that believe gambling will destroy our state, what will happen when thousands of families lose their livelyhood if the bill is not signed? Responsible adults will be responsible! Others will waste away their money one way or another! The county fairs, 4H and the whole track and ag industry needs this bill being signed. This is not a time for “Holier-than-Thou!” It is time for our Governor to “step up to the plate” and sign this bill!!!

  20. art stanley

    I do feel that they should expand gambling. I feel they should put one close to Indiana to stop some of the people that go there to gamble. I also feel they should put a BIG one in Chicago to help keep conventions and tourism dollar. I also feel that Chicago should have at least as many if not more positions in the casino then Joliet who has 2 different casinos. I would also like to see a good percentage of the money from Chicagos casino go to shore up thier pension funds so the tax payers don’t get hit as hard.

    Also the state should put 2 of the casino licences out for rebid each year. Not make it once its out there it is out there. Make each licence good for 6 years then have it go up for rebid. It will bring in an influx of money.

  21. Philip Guagliardo

    Its a no brainer pass the bill and those who will be employed again will be paying taxes and not getting unemployment or other entitlements ! If you go to an Indiana casino you will see Illinois plates in abundance in the parking lot ! Why give Indiana illinois money ? Just remember this a gambler will gamble no matter what , so at least let Illinois benefit !

  22. D. E. Watson

    Unlike the rest of the fans of thoroughbred horse racing, of which I am one, I think that giving a casino to racetracks in Illinois is foolish.. While I do feel that Chicago needs a casino to maintain it’s position as a premier convention destination, I do not support slot machines at area race tracks, primarily because the addition of new casinos will dilute the value of other nearby venues in areas that are in dire need of that gambling revenue. Besides, Arlington Park management has, since it’s rebuilding in the 1980’s, done a terrible job in managing the track operation, after the fire they overbuildt a structure of such size that could not possible be maintained by the local fan base, and then in ignoring that same fan base with high admission fees, program fees and antiquated crowd management and comfort policies that do nothing to enhance the racing experience or build its core clientele. Since Arlington has shown for many years a decided lack of management expertise in operating a horse racing facility, why would anyone think they’ll do a good job with the occasionally politically sensitive operation of a casino?

    • Marcia S.

      What racetrack(s) is/are your point of reference?

    • ken

      As a regular at Arlington Park since the late 1970s I must disagree with your comments. While over the last couple of years, lower attendance and reduced handle have created some knee0jerk reactions by management (I agree–the high admission is way out-of-line) I would counter with this simple statement.

      Until this track was rebuilt, there was no way I would take my daughter to the racetrack. Now we spend at least a portion of Father’s Day there. She doesn’t much care for the races but at least the place is spotless clean and there are few, if any, degenerate types hanging around using salty language. A separate room with 100 slot machines that contribute to an increased purse structure can only help return Arlington Park to where it belongs–as the number 1 location for quality summer racing in the midwest.

  23. tom

    Responsible expansion is ok, the current pending legislation is too much. this bill creates too many new venues and no new gamblers.

  24. Marcia S.

    Another couple thoughts. Gamblers are going to gamble. Would be good if taxes derived from gambling relieved some of the middle class tax burdens. ALSO, maybe the no-goods that are fighting dogs to death would lose their business and the stupids that bet on that would instead head to the track or casino to make wagers.

  25. Jon

    Allowing slots at the Illinois Race tracks is not only going to generate much needed revenue for the state and hundreds of jobs, it would only be the fair thing to do considering the current casino expansion in place.

  26. Bob

    For years, the Illinois Racing Industry has been promised additional support from the Illinois Legislature. (Remember, the racing industry was doing just fine until the State of Illinois began to directly compete with the racing industry through the Lottery and indirectly via the casino licenses) Initially, the racing industry was to receive a small percentage of the revenues from the then “last” casino license. That promised help has been stalled in the court system for years. Meanwhile, the racing industry continues to lose ground to neighboring states that have allowed slot machines at the racetracks thereby drawing larger and more interesting fields which permit higher payouts to horse owners, trainers and associated personnel. It has gotten so bad, that one of the biggest owners of thoroughbred horses in Illinois decided this year to pull his racing operations out of Illinois to race in Florida where they have casinos at the racetracks and thereby higher purse structures.
    Illinois needs to at long last give the needed support to the racing industry instead of just empty promises.

  27. Bill Kelly

    Let the racetracks have slots in order that they can compete with the Nevada corporations that own the riverboat casinos. Illinois horsemen and farms will be helped. We don’t need any more Nevada casinos operating in Illinois and sending the cash back to Las Vegas. Bill K

  28. Steve Kelly

    I am strongly in favor of allowing slot machines at race tracks-as there is clear evidence this has stabilized and strengthened race tracks and racing programs around the country as well as keeping hundreds (or more) racetrack workers employed and paying taxes. The majority of the people who would play these slot machines are indviduals who are already playing slots elsewhere. By playing at the racetracks they are providing support for a vital indsutry and source of employment in Illinois.

    Although I am not for widespread expansion of casinos throughout the state, I do feel it is very worthwhile to allow one in Chicago. As a large percentage of the casino attendees at the norhtern Indiana casinos are from Chicago and other parts of Illinois, a casino in Chicago will allow Illinois to benefit from all of the gambling proceeds that are currently goin to Indiana. Illinois has everything to gain from a casino in Chicago and slot machines at its racetracks.

  29. Bill

    The Illinois Race Tracks need slot machines to stay competitive and to survive. There are so many JOBS at stake!!

  30. Gary Walter

    This is a bill that is long overdue and why our govenor is wasting time not signing it mystifies me. This bill not only evens the playing field, but gives the horse racing indursty a fighting chance. People are going to gamble one way or another so make it legal and accessible!!

  31. Janett

    The Illinois gambling bill SB744 is a wonderful move to create jobs in this state and specifically in Chicago. Additionally, the bill SB744 will take the burden of higher taxes off of the financially strained backs of the residents. The idea of having a gambling choice at the race tracks would make for a fun outing for the occasional gambler. Serious gamblers will bet money on anything; why not keep that money close to home, in Chicago. The unemployment rate is very high, should not someone create jobs for these people?

  32. Thayer Davis

    Stop trying to save people from themselves. If people are bent on ruining their lives they will do it gambling or with no gambling one way or the other. Responsible adults are more than capable of controlling themselves and exercising rational recreational gaming activities. Don’t confuse people that will self destruct no matter what the circumstances with the far greater number of people that can keep life in balance.

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  34. Rich

    It makes no sence that you can have video poker at any bar but you dont have slots at the tracks.Quinn is a big idiot

  35. Ann Marie Lundstrom

    I strongly support the slots at Arlington Park. It is a beautiful track and we, as a family enjoy spending our Sundays at the track. If people don’t want to spend their money on Slots or horse racing, that is their business, but don’ t tell me that slots will destroy Arlington Heights. I have lived here for 40 years and we love Arlington Heights and the track. Many jobs depend on the race track staying open. Governor Quinn sign the Bill, do what is right for Arlington Heights and Illinois and the taxpayers. Ann Marie

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  37. Frank

    I strongly support slots at Arlington Race Track. Politicians cannot control what people do for entertainment, including gambling. Gov. Quinn can, to a great extent, contribute to where Illinois residents spend their gaming dollars by allowing slots at Arlington Race Track & the other tracks in Il. I also agree with allowing a Chicago casino. I’m frustrated reading how all that tax money is going to Indiana.

  38. These are all incredibly valuable comments. This is a really important dialogue, and people clearly have a lot to say. Keep talking!

  39. Glenn Crawford

    RACE TRACK GLENN! We all have choices, Really we gamble everyday OK.Don’t cramp my style.And they’re off, keep those slots rolling.All bets on.

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  42. Pingback: IL Gambling Expansion: Andy Shaw Voices BGA’s Concerns in Aug. 4 Chicago Tribune | BGA Think Tank

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