Gambling and the Illinois Republican Platform

“Conventional wisdom” in politics continues to hold that the party platforms are meaningless and just an exercise in quieting the base. It’s funny how that old adage doesn’t apply to the Democratic Party Platform, but only to the Republican Party Platform, which continues to be ignored by GOP leaders everywhere. This behavior has given us Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

One issue in the news lately has been addressed in our state GOP platform. Evidently, quite a few local governments have been rejecting video gaming in their communities. While state house Republican minority leader Tom Cross might not demonstrate good sense when it comes to gaming, many at the local level realize that expanding gambling is a sure loser.

For the record, the Illinois GOP Platform has this to say about it:

“We call on the Governor and the General Assembly to balance the state budget and provide for a responsible capital development program without resorting to the expansion of gambling, which harms Illinois’ families and our state’s business climate and presents costly challenges for both law enforcement and social service agencies.”

Obviously many Republican “leaders” don’t care a wit about the party platform – and just as many could care less about the economic research on the topic of legalized gambling. The matter is currently being discussed in Kane County. One press report referred to the county government there as “budget-crunched.” Kane has set up a task force to look at how video gaming might impact the two riverboats that operate on the Fox River.

This website has linked several good articles and websites that tackle the economic impact of gambling – you can view the list here. My personal favorite is probably this one:

Quotes about gambling from University of Illinois Professor John W. Kindt

There are too many quotes to list – but here are three examples.

“Every video [slot] gambling machine takes $60,000 out of the consumer economy.”

“When the money is not spent on cars and refrigerators and is instead dropped into a slot machine, it leaves the [local] economy.”

“A shrinking economy means lost sales and lost jobs.”

Again, read the entire list of quotes here.

You can ignore Professor John Kindt if you want, but for your information, he’s studied the issue. He’s got the research to back it up, so you’re not just ignoring a guy with only an opinion. You can read the good professor’s bio here – he’s at the College of Business at the University of Illinois. There are a few of his works linked at Casino Watch‘s website as well.

©2009 John Francis Biver