Elimination of gambling would be windfall for Illinois citizens - Saturday 12th of March 2005

In response to Gaming is good for Illinois, should not be disbanded(March 28), I am somewhat intrigued by several things.

 

First of all, I am alarmed by the misinformation and the lack of documentation. I personally visited six downtown businesses all within two to three blocks of the Hollywood Casino in Aurora. Every owner claimed that the casino had a negative impact on his business. The two hardest hit were area restaurants. One's sales had dropped 80% since the arrival of the casino. Another had no patrons in it at 11:30 A.M. on a Thursday.

 

The casinos are experts at public relations. They are like the six men in the "Blind Men and the Elephant." As long as they can portray only one aspect of their lucrative enterprises, they deceive the public into believing they are a benefit to the host community.

 

It is a fact they return money to the area in community enhancement projects; however, isn't it ironic that they fail to tell the same public how many millions of dollars they are vacuuming out!

 

Secondly, I am appalled by how conveniently they also leave out the true story of job creation. Dr. Earl Grinols' comprehensive research on the economic impact of casinos concluded that in eleven of the twelve Illinois communities studied casinos failed to provide the promised jobs. Casino jobs are transfer jobs. They are also low paying, high stress, high turnover jobs.

 

If gambling is such an economic panacea, why aren't our chools flooded with money from the state lottery? And as a corollary why is our state facing such a huge budget deficit since we have nine operating casinos?

 

It is an economic fact that a state cannot gamble itself rich. As someone so aptly stated, "The only way to way to make money from a casino is to own one." While the owners and a few investors are getting extremely wealthy, the casino communities are posturing themselves for economic chaos as multiplied millions of dollars are being siphoned from the community to Vegas casino moguls.

 

Thirdly, I am not only intrigued but am saddened to see anyone cheapen Christianity by associating it with gambling. For a Christian to identify with an industry that is deceptive, predatory, parastic, and exploitative defies the very foundation of Christianity.

 

To endorse a product that causes addictions, bankruptcies, and crime is an abomination in the eyes of God. The driving force behind gambling is greed which is a direct violation of "Thou shalt not covet."

 

Finally, I applaud Rep. John Bradley for having the foresight and the concern for his state to take such a bold stand and propose legislation that will eventually be a model for all of the country to follow.

 

I totally agree with D. Jones, "Take a hard look at the real issues at hand, and not what just a handful of hypocrites tell you." If our public officials will honestly do that the decision to eliminate casino gambling will be a windfall for Illinois.

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