I’ve been to casinos and race tracks and placed a few bets. It’s entertainment. It’s fun. But the last time was when I was on vacation a few years ago. I’ll drop a few bucks on the Lottery. When it’s big. But in short, I don’t gamble. And I don’t know anyone who does. It seems like the majority of people who regularly go to casinos or the race track are the people who work there. And those who can least afford it.
Gambling is a cruel regressive tax which promotes social ills, bankruptcies, divorce and the blind addiction to hope. Of winning. And it targets the poor. And Illinois leads America’s race to the bottom in this national disgrace. Fleecing our own people. Exploiting the poor. And grubbing for money.
I just read an article that Illinois is now considering a bill to allow the state’s ten casinos to stay open 24 hours a day. The logic? Recently 24 hour gambling was pushed — and passed — for truck stops. Sooooo, we should now permit equal opportunity insolvency for all of our people. Not just truckers. Great. And of course 24 hour gambling offers more distraction from “bringing home the bacon” (or even going home at all).
In the year 2000, the bipartisan U.S. National Gambling Impact Study Commission (sponsored by IL Democratic Senator Paul Simon) found that 80% of all gambling revenue was derived from households earning less than $50,000 annually. What’s the government’s “take”? Low income gamblers had to lose $84 billion (that’s with a “B”) to casinos and lotteries for the governments to take in $24 billion in lucre. And of course taxpayers often foot the bill for welfare checks to these folks.
It’s not the doctors, lawyers, bankers, teachers or business people who are spending their days and nights gambling. Face it — it’s those who are struggling to survive financially. And we all know how the odds are stacked. So next time you hear a politician argue in favor of gambling initiatives, more casinos, and longer hours, know full well that he wants the poor and the destitute to get it in the neck. And he doesn’t care one bit . . . .