Chicago casino – Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop Chicago Community Stories Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Slot machines kill jobs Tue, 16 Aug 2011 21:56:07 +0000 Mayor Emanuel is promising to spend his new $140 million a year from the Chicago casino he expects on wonderful things that we’ll all love.  While casinos will create some jobs, he tells the Tribune, “the real job growth and economic growth will come from investment” of the city’s take.

It may not be that simple.   Consider the costs.

Every new slot machine at a Chicago casino will destroy one job each year, by taking money out of the consumer economy, according to John Warren Kindt, business professor at the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana.  Four thousand slots could mean forty thousand lost jobs over a decade.

Each slot machine, conservatively, takes in $100,000 a year.  With the multiplier effect on consumer spending, that means that 4,000 planned slot machines in Chicago will remove $1.2 billion from the consumer economy each year, Kindt said.

That’s a loss of $120 million in sales tax, just for starters, to set against the $140 million in city profits. Not to mention a heavy blow to a struggling economy.

There are years of academic research showing that gambling destablizes local economies, he said; much of it is reviewed in the four-volume, 3,000-page U.S. International Gambling Series which Kindt edited.  (Tell your library to get it.)

“The economic argument is totally disingenuous,” Kindt said.  The state’s proposed gambling expansion “will absolutely hurt the economy.”

The expansion is “all about slot machines,” he said.  Up to 90 percent of gambling profits come from slot machines.

“Slot machines don’t create jobs,” Kindt said. “You just dust them off and collect the money.”

And costs to government go up as gambling addiction rises (doubling within casino feeder markets), bankruptcies climb (18 to 42 percent higher in area around casinos, Kindt said) and crime rates go up (about 10 percent a year).  That means costs to government of $3 for every $1 in gambling revenue.

So it may not be time yet to start counting chickens.  Governor Quinn has yet to sign the bill; and if he does, the win-to-loss ratio may be less favorable than the politicians project.

Kindt recalls promises 20 years ago that casinos in Illinois would solve the state’s budget problems forever.  Now, Illinois and two other states with large gambling industries (California and Nevada) lead the nation in budget shortfalls.  He’s convinced that “the accumulated taxpayer costs that accompany gambling facilities” are a major factor in Illinois’ budget crisis.

If that’s true, then more of the same wouldn’t be the solution.

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Gambling on a capital budget Fri, 18 Jan 2008 16:07:47 +0000 When Governor Blagojevich approved a regional sales tax hike to fund mass transit operations, it wasn’t the first campaign pledge he’s reversed recently. Just last month he went back on promises in his 2002 and ’06 campaigns to oppose gambling expansion.

Noting that he has “traditionally opposed” gambling expansion, Blagojevich’s spokesperson said December 17 that “in the spirit of compromise” he was “willing to accept at gaming expansion as a better source of revenue than raising taxes on people.”

But it was another “tradition” — the anti-tax pledge — that fell in this week’s compromise. And with the state’s long-deferred capital budget still unaddressed, the Task Force to Oppose Gambling in Chicago is suggesting it’s time to look at alternatives to gambling again.

A bill for massive gambling expansion, HB 4194 — which would add a land-based casino in Chicago, two riverboard casinos, and slot machines at five racetracks, doubling gambling positions in the state — is still on the table; hearings were held in Springfield earlier this month.

But the proposal faces a raft of political difficulties: casinos don’t like the slot machines at racetracks or the stepped-up regulation contained in the bill; downstate legislators aren’t enthusiastic about awarding a casino license to the scandal-plagued City of Chicago in perpetuity, for a fraction of the $800 million that a private entity would pay. Add to the mix the December indictment of Blagojevich’s top gambling advisor — for gambling-linked fraud.

Now the Task Force is questioning the premise of the Governor’s December compromise — that gambling expansion is “a better source of revenue” than taxes. Spokesperson Doug Dobmeyer notes that the quarter-percent income tax hike that’s been discussed as a source of capital funding would cost the average family $110 a year; he contrasts that with the $120 or so that the average casino patron loses in each visit. (In 2006 total gross receipts amounted to an average $118 loss per visit for 16 million casino patrons; last month it averaged $122 for 1.23 million visitors.)

“The bottom line” is that “a tax increase is cheaper than shelling out money to a casino,” said Dobmeyer, adding that it’s more cost-effective too, since the gambling industry doesn’t take a large cut of the revenue.

It also avoids the wide range of social costs associated with gambling.

Dobmeyer said Ald. Joe Moore is preparing to sponsor a citywide referendum asking voters if they support a land-based casino in Chicago, and the Task Force is also supporting Lt. Gov. Patrick Quinn’s call for a statewide referendum on gambling expansion. Dobmeyer points to a recent Capitol Fax report on a survey showing 77 percent of state residents support a referendum on the issue.

HB 4194 “would make Illinois the second largest place in the country for gambling, after Vegas,” he said. “No one has discussed what that would mean….

“We want a referendum and a lot more discussion.”