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Our View: Gambling expansion a sucker bet

Published: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

Proponents of gambling expansion believe they have a better opportunity to push proposals through Springfield this year despite failing to over the past two years.

We’re hoping that putting their chips on 2014 will get the same result many Illinois gamblers get when they bet heavy – another loser.

The theory is that Illinois government is in desperate need of cash, and it’s more sad than funny that such desperation is the same kind that leaves a gambler destitute. Of course, Illinois has serious financial problems, but gamblers call this tactic chasing your bet. It’s a losing strategy.

One thing we actually agree with Gov. Pat Quinn on is that expanding gambling in Illinois raises ethical concerns. We’d urge Quinn to maintain that position. Quinn already has vetoed two gambling expansion plans proposed by the Legislature.

Gambling proponents are breathing new life into legislation proposed last May to build five more casinos in Illinois and allow slot machines at race tracks and airports. It died when the session was adjourned after it was never even called for a vote.

Illinois is in need of real reform, debt reduction, decreased spending and a restructuring of taxes to make it a better state for businesses and taxpayers alike. Gambling expansion is just more wishful thinking that cheap fixes and tax hikes are the only way out of this state’s fiscal mess.

Gambling is and always will be a shell game as a revenue solution, where the only ones who truly benefit are those who hold the gambling licenses. Don’t bet on that changing if Illinois chooses to expand it.

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