Deja vu on gambling

Deja vu on gambling

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 12/11/2012 - 10:52

Now that lawmakers won't be back in Springfield again until 2013, another year has passed in which officials debated at length whether to add more casinos and slot machines in Illinois.

And another year has passed in which nothing was approved.

We noted this very thing last year in a story running down the history of how, despite the prevalence of the issue in Springfield, it always seems to end the same way.

Nearly as long as Illinois has had casinos, there have been people who have wanted more. Sen. Terry Link’s efforts to get a Lake County casino predate his 1997 entrance into the Illinois Senate. And Arlington Park Chairman Richard Duchossois has long sought slot machines at the Arlington Heights racetrack.

Despite this, the effort to expand gambling in Illinois is a perennial debate.

It’s a nearly perennial failure for the supporters, who cling to the hope that economic bounty can follow a new casino. And it’s a nearly perennial victory for anti-gambling advocates who say addiction and money troubles that can accompany regular gamblers far outweigh local benefits.

Duchossois’ pleadings for slot machines — and inability to land them — even helped prompt a two-year closure of the Arlington Heights track for the 1998 and 1999 seasons as he pushed to install slots at the track.

The full story is here.

Just add another year. Lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 2, and gambling could be on the agenda. Or it could wait until new lawmakers are sworn in and a new class could have at the old issue.

Will 2013 be the year?

We'll check in a year from now.

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